Developmental Assets

Developmental Assets


What are Developmental Assets?

Developmental Assets are the key supports in a young person’s life that help them grow to be strong, caring, and capable adults.

Children and youth develop assets through relationships with supportive adults, and all children need multiple supportive adults in their lives.

The more Developmental Assets a young person has, the more likely they are to succeed in school and be helpful, healthy and productive citizens. At the same time, the more assets youth have, the less likely they are to be involved with drugs, alcohol or other risky behaviors.


Who created Developmental Assets?

The Developmental Assets® framework is based on 60 years of social science research compiled by the Search Institute SM of Minnesota.


This research identified 40 Assets: concrete, common sense, positive experiences and personal qualities essential to raising successful young people. These assets have the power to influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible adults. Schools can directly influence twenty-two of these Assets.


How are Developmental Assets beneficial to Alaskans?

Developmental Assets complement and reflect traditional Native values that form the foundation of many rural Alaska communities.


Alaska ICE weaves together local traditional values with community engagement principles to create sustainable community partnerships web of support for our youth.


The book, Helping Kids Succeed-Alaskan Style, written ‘by and for Alaskans’, introduced the Developmental Assets® framework to many across the state. People statewide contributed over 4,000 ideas of ways they build the 40 assets in children and youth.


Alaska ICE asked for − and incorporated − examples from Alaska Native communities. We sought out the wisdom of Elders and rural village residents to better understand how each asset might be defined, traditionally.


As a result, 10 of the Developmental Assets were slightly modified, from the Search Institute definition. View the “Alaskanized” assets list here.


How do we know Developmental Assets work?

Research has proven the direct link between assets and student achievement.


No matter where or under what circumstances a child grows up, the more assets that child has, the more likely they are to succeed. The wonderful thing about Asset Building is that every member of the community can help to build them in youth. See Assets Research for early childhood through adolescence at the Search Institute website.


How does Alaska ICE help Alaska adults and students build Developmental Assets?

Alaska ICE uses Developmental Assets to engage entire communities − schools, tribal entities, youth-serving programs, faith-based communities, and others − in creating a web of support for every young person.

Alaska ICE encourages the shared responsibility of the community to build assets in youth, and thus help nurture successful adults.

To build assets, every child and teen needs connections with many supportive adults. View our Assets Bookmark with simple asset building ideas on one side and the eight asset categories on the other.