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35 Characteristics of Asset-Building Communities
- A vision rooted in developmental assets is communicated several
times a year to all residents.
- All residents understand their personal capacity to promote
- Most residents take personal responsibility.
- Most residents take action.
- New residents are quickly socialized to the community vision.
- Children and teenagers know the developmental assets.
- Most youth take action to promote assets for themselves and for
- The community thinks and acts intergenerationally; most adults
establish sustained relationships with children and adolescents;
most adolescents establish sustained relationships with younger children.
- Youth have many opportunities to lead, make decisions, and give input;
youth are provided useful roles in community life.
Youth then are actors in the reclaiming of community rather
than just objects of programs.
- All children and teenagers frequently engage in service
to others. Much of this "work" is done with adults; a premium
is placed on processing the experiences (i.e. service learning).
- A common core of values is named.
- Adults model and articulate their values.
- A common core of boundaries is named.
- Adults model and articulate their values.
- Families are supported, taught, and equipped to elevate asset-building
to top priority.
- Community programs assist adults-particularly
parents-to personally reclaim developmental assets.
- Neighbors and community residents build caring relationships
with youth and express this caring through dialogue, listening,
commending positive behavior, acknowledging their presence,
enjoying their company, and involving them in decision making.
They know neighborhood children and adolescents by name and take
time to get to know them.
- Businesses that employ teenagers
address the assets of support, boundaries, values, and social
competencies. Employers also develop family-friendly policies and
provide mechanisms for employees to build relationships with youth.
- Religious institutions mobilize their capacity for intergenerational
relationships, educating and supporting parents, structured time use,
values development, and service to the community. They focus on
both their own members and the larger community.
- Schools-both elementary and secondary-place priority on
becoming caring environments for all students, providing challenging
and engaging curriculum for all students, providing opportunities
for nurturing values deemed crucial by the community, expanding and
strengthening co-curricular activities, and using their connections
with parents to reinforce the importance of family attention to assets.
- Youth organizations and other service providers train leaders and
volunteers in asset-building strategies and provide meaningful
opportunities for youth to serve their community and build citizenship
and leadership skills.
- Local government-through policy, influence,
training, and resource allocation-moves asset development and
community-wide cooperation to top priorities for planing, policies,
and funding allocations within the municipality.
- The community invests in expanding and strengthening its systems
of clubs, teams, and organizations.
- Virtually all 7 to 18 year olds are involved in one or more clubs,
teams, or other youth-serving organizations that view building
assets as central to their mission.
- All professionals (e.g. day care providers, teachers, social workers,
youth ministers) and volunteers (e.g coaches, mentors) who work with youth
receive training in asset building.
- The media (print, radio, television) repeatedly communicate the
community's vision, support local mobilization efforts, and provide
forums for sharing innovative actions taken by individuals and organizations.
- The community prizes cultural strengths and traditions. Particularly
for youth of color, this heritage includes the concept of elders,
the primacy of intergenerational relationships, respect for
figures of authority, the value of caring for others, and a wisdom
about what matters. Being in touch with and affirming these strengths
represents an important dimension of cultural competence, in addition
to knowledge and contact with cultures beyond one's own.
- Teenagers have safe places "to hang".
- Families have safe places on weekends and during evenings to
receive short-term child care.
- All children receive frequent expressions of support in both
informal public settings and in places where youth gather.
- The community celebrates the individuals and systems which take
innovative action; youth professionals and volunteers have high status
in the life of the community.
- The community-wide commitment to asset-building is long-term and
- The community pays particular attention to helping girls develop
assertiveness skills, a sense of personal control and mastery and
- The community pays particular attention to helping boys develop
and express compassion and caring.
- Current programs which intentionally build assets, like peer helping,
mentoring, and service learning are elevated to top priority and expanded
to reach a higher number of youth.
Provided by Search Institute in the 1997 MAISD report of
the results of the Profiles of Student Life Survey
Copyright©2003 by the Great Lakes Center for Youth Development
except where noted
Contact Judy Watson-Olson
or Karen Thompson
at (906)228-8919 with questions/comments
Some information on this site is produced by other sources, see bibliography
This page was last updated on Monday, March 10th, 2014