Asset of the Month
Asset of the Month

"Why do some kids grow up with ease, while others struggle? Why do some kids get involved in dangerous activities while others spend their time contributing to society? Why do some youth 'beat the odds' in difficult situations, while others get trapped?"

As a result of recent tragedies involving youth throughout the United States, there is renewed interest in the well being of youth and families. To that end, the Minneapolis-based Search Institute has identified 40 developmental assets that have a great influence on young people's lives. These 40 developmental assets are concrete positive experiences and qualities, which are essential to building strong, healthy lives. Many parents and families currently support these assets without consciously thinking about them. These assets are things that everyone can help to nurture young people.

The 40 developmental assets are grouped into eight categories, four of which contain external assets. This means that the assets in these categories come from outside our children and youth - from us, from other people, from the community, and from institutions such as schools and youth groups. These assets provide support boundaries and structure for children and youth to survive. The remaining four categories (20 assets) are internal. These assets support our youth from within and consist of such things as commitments, attitudes, values, and skills.

Search Institute has surveyed almost 100,000 6th - 12th grade youth throughout the United States. Their survey results indicate that the average young person experiences only 18 of the 40 assets. National percentages in the Asset Building Calendar and on the Monthly Asset Pages refer to the percentage of those youth surveyed by the Institute who indicated that they had experienced a given asset. Lincoln-Way percentages on these same pages refer to the percentage of our surveyed population who also indicated that they had experienced the given asset. The Institute concludes that the more assets a young person experiences, the less likely he or she will be to engage in unhealthy, dangerous and immoral behavior. Whether nationally or locally, there is a need to build these assets in our youth.

The asset framework includes everyone, coordinated by the Team Asset Committee. Families, schools, neighborhoods, the religious community, organizations, institutions and community members can play an active role in asset building. In the Lincoln-Way community, this initiative was launched in the spring of 2000. Included are the Frankfort Youth Commission, the Mokena Youth Commission, the elementary school districts, Lincoln-Way High School and many area congregations. For each of the next forty months we will be emphasizing one of the forty assets identified.

External Asset Categories
Internal Asset Categories
Boundaries and Expectations
Constructive Use of Time
Commitment to Learning
Positive Values
Social Competencies
Positive Identity
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