For Youth Development
The YMCA of South Alabama strives to deliver not only quality programs but also develop great kids through developmental assets.
Building Blocks for Raising Healthy Children and Youth
Since its creation in 1990, Search Institute’s framework of Developmental Assets has become the most widely used approach to positive youth development in the YMCA.
Background—Grounded in extensive research in youth development, resiliency, and prevention, the Developmental Assets represent the relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities that young people need to avoid risks and to thrive.
The Power of Assets—Studies of more than 2.2 million young people in the United States consistently show that the more assets young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors (see table below) and the more likely they are to thrive. Assets have power for all young people, regardless of their gender, economic status, family, or race/ethnicity. Furthermore, levels of assets are better predictors of high-risk involvement and thriving than poverty or being from a single-parent family.
The Gap—The average young person experiences fewer than half of the 40 assets. Boys experience three fewer assets than girls (17.2 assets for boys vs. 19.9 for girls).
- Family Support | Family life provides high levels of love and support.
- Positive Family Communication | Parent(s) and child communicate positively. Child feels comfortable seeking advice and counsel from parent(s).
- Other Adult Relationships | Child receives support from adults other than her or his parent(s).
- Caring Neighborhood | Child person experiences caring neighbors.
- Caring School Climate | Relationships with teachers and peers provide a caring, encouraging environment.
- Parent Involvement in Schooling | Parent(s) are actively involved in helping the child succeed in school.
- Community Values Youth | Child feels valued and appreciated by adults in the community.
- Children as Resources | Child is included in decisions at home and in the community.
- Service to Others | Child has opportunities to help others in the community.
- Safety | Child feels safe at home, school, and in the neighborhood.
- Family Boundaries | Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the child ’s whereabouts.
- School Boundaries | School provides clear rules and consequences.
- Neighborhood Boundaries | Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring the child ’s behavior.
- Adult Role Models | Parent(s) and other adults in the child’s family, as well as nonfamily adults, model positive, responsible behavior.
- Positive Peer Influence | Child’s closest friends model positive, responsible behavior.
- High Expectations | Parent(s) and teachers expect the child to do her or his best at school and in other activities
- Creative Activities | Child participates in music, art, drama, or creative writing two or more times per week.
- Child Programs |Child participates two or more times per week in cocurricular school activities or structured community programs for children.
- Religious Community | Child attends religious programs or services one or more times per week.
- 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.
- Achievement Motivation | Child is motivated and strives to do well in school.
- Learning Engagement | Child is responsive, attentive, and actively engaged in learning at school and enjoys participating in learning activities outside of school.
- Homework | Child usually hands in homework on time.
- Bonding to School | Child cares about teachers and other adults at school.
- Reading for Pleasure | Child enjoys and engages in reading for fun most days of the week
- Caring | Parent(s) tell the child it is important to help other people.
- Equality and Social Justice | Parent(s) tell the child it is important to speak up for equal rights for all people.
- Integrity | Parent(s) tell the child it is important to stand up for one’s beliefs.
- Honesty | Parent(s) tell the child it is important to tell the truth.
- Responsibility | Parent(s) tell the child it is important to accept personal responsibility for behavior.
- Healthy Lifestyle | Parent(s) tell the child it is important to have good health habits and an understanding of healthy sexuality.
- Planning and Decision Making | Child thinks about decisions and is usually happy with results of her or his decisions.
- Interpersonal Competence | Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
- Cultural Competence | Child knows and is comfortable with people of different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds and with her or his own cultural identity.
- 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.
- Peaceful Conflict Resolution | Child seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.
- Personal Power | Child feels he or she has some influence over things that happen in her or his life.
- Self-Esteem | Child likes and is proud to be the person that he or she is.
- Sense of Purpose | Child sometimes thinks about what life means and whether there is a purpose for her or his life.SHOW ME HOW TO
- Positive View of Personal Future | Child is optimistic about her or his personal future.
YMCA youth development programs use the developmental assets to frame curriculum for all programs.