Have you ever wondered why some kids grow up with ease while others struggle?  Are you surprised that some kids thrive in spite of difficult circumstances?  The Search Institute has identified 40 Developmental Assets, or factors that are essential to young people’s success. These assets aren’t financial. Instead, they are opportunities, skills, relationships, values, and self-perceptions that all young people need in their lives.  The assets are both external (things that other people provide for youth) and internal (things that young people develop within themselves).

We have a lot of influence when it comes to improving the lives of children.  The Asset Champions are a collaborative community network in the Council Bluffs Metropolitan whose mission is to intentionally integrate and infuse assets and strengths into our personal and professional efforts as we encourage our community’s youth and families to be caring, responsible, and self-sufficient.

It is a bringing together of every child, adult, school, youth organization, business, community group, neighborhood, church, and non-profit organization to make an enormous positive impact on the future of our young people, our community, and our world!

Over the last several decades researchers have learned a lot about elements in human experience that have long term positive effects on young people.  These 40 Developmental Assets are the building blocks that make young people healthy, happy, and successful.

External Assets


1. Family support—Family life provides high levels of love and support.
2. Positive family communication—Parent(s) and child communicate positively. Child feels comfortable seeking advice and counsel from parent(s).

3. Other adult relationships—Child receives support from adults other than her or his parent(s).

4. Caring neighborhood—Child experiences caring neighbors.

5. Caring school climate—Relationships with teachers and peers provide a caring, encouraging environment.

6. Parent involvement in schooling—Parent(s) are actively involved in helping the child succeed in school.


7. Community values youth—Child feels valued and appreciated by adults in the community.

8. Children as resources—Child is included in decisions at home and in the community.

9. Service to others—Child has opportunities to help others in the community.

10. Safety—Child feels safe at home, at school, and in his or her neighborhood.

Boundaries &

11. Family boundaries—Family has clear and consistent rules and consequences and monitors the child’s whereabouts.

12. School Boundaries—School provides clear rules and consequences.

13. Neighborhood boundaries—Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring the child’s behavior.

14. Adult role models—Parent(s) and other adults in the child’s family, as well as nonfamily adults, model positive, responsible behavior. Child’s closest friends model positive, responsible behavior.

15. Positive peer relationships—Parent(s) and caregivers seek to provide opportunities for the child to interact positively with other children.

16. High expectations—Parent(s) and teachers expect the child to do her or his best at school and in other activities.

Use of Time

17. Creative activities—Child participates in music, art, drama, or creative writing two or more times per week.

18. Child programs—Child participates two or more times per week in cocurricular school activities or structured community programs for children..

19. Religious community—Child attends religious programs or services one or more times per week.

20. Time at home—Child spends some time most days both in high-quality interaction with parents and doing things at home other than watching TV or playing video games.

Internal Assets

to Learning

21. Achievement Motivation—Child is motivated and strives to do well in school.

22. Learning Engagement—Child is responsive, attentive, and actively engaged in learning at school and enjoys participating in learning activities outside of school.

23. Homework—Child usually hands in homework on time.

24. Bonding to school—Child cares about teachers and other adults at school.

25. Reading for Pleasure—Child enjoys and engages in reading for fun most days of the week.

Positive Values

26. Caring—Parent(s) tell the child it is important to help other people.

27. Equality and social justice—Parent(s) tell the child it is important to speak up for equal rights for all people.

28. Integrity—Parent(s) tell the child it is important to stand up for one’s beliefs.

29. Honesty—Parent(s) tell the child it is important to tell the truth.

30. Responsibility—Parent(s) tell the child it is important to accept personal responsibility for behavior.

31. Healthy Lifestyle—Parent(s) tell the child it is important to have good health habits and an understanding of healthy sexuality.

Social Competencies

32. Planning and decision making—Child thinks about decisions and is usually happy with results of her or his decisions.

33. Interpersonal Competence—Child cares about and is affected by other people’s feelings, enjoys making friends, and, when frustrated or angry, tries to calm her- or himself.

34. Cultural Competence—Child knows and is comfortable with people of different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds and with her or his own cultural identity.

35. Resistance skills—Child can stay away from people who are likely to get her or him in trouble and is able to say no to doing wrong or dangerous things.

36. Peaceful Conflict Resolution—Child seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.

Positive Identity

37. Personal power—Child feels he or she has some influence over things that happen in her or his life.

38. Self-esteem—Child likes and is proud to be the person that he or she is.

39. Sense of purpose—Child sometimes thinks about what life means and whether there is a purpose for her or his life.

40. Positive view of personal future—Child is optimistic about her or his personal future.