The 41 Developmental Assets – Steps 1, 2, 3
You’ve heard by now that the City and school district have adopted the 41 Developmental Assets framework, but what that is and what that means to our kids day to day may not be clear. The Search Institute in Minnesota has done research around what makes kids more likely to thrive (where “thrive” means displaying specific behaviors, i.e. experience school success, exhibit leadership, help others informally, resist danger, value diversity, control impulsive behavior, maintain good personal health and overcome adversity.) This research led to a list of 41 Developmental Assets that are highly correlated with thriving youth. Developmental assets are the positive values, relationships, and experiences that youth need to thrive. Youth with low asset levels are more likely to engage in risk behaviors and fail to achieve at school. Youth with high asset levels are more likely to choose healthy activities, succeed in school, and avoid risk behaviors. So Step 1 is “More Assets ==> More thriving.”
Step 2 is understanding our kids, hearing our kids’ voices and committing, as a community, to listening and responding. The survey of 4000+ students done this school year helps us do that. The information is being reviewed at each school and PTA and shared around town with different groups who all are interested in our youth. These groups of caring adults can find ways to support our youth and build assets. And while groups may pursue particular assets (say, #9 Service to Others – Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week, or #3 Other Adult Relationships – Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults), individual adults can build assets every day in every kid they encounter.
Step 3 is take advantage of every moment to build assets in every child. Think back to your childhood. What was important to you growing up? Who or what built assets for you?
Consider taking the following pledge:
I take the time to listen when a young person speaks to me.
- At least once a week I do something to make someone’s day.
- Each day I’m involved in spontaneous acts of asset building.
- I choose my attitude carefully each day.
- I help young people to use their strengths to overcome their deficits.
- I set an example for youth.
- I take the initiative in engaging young people positively.
- I smile and make eye contact with young people as I go about my day.
- Even when a child is in trouble I try to concentrate on what is right with them.
If you’re interested in the survey results they can be found on the PAUSD website. If you would like to attend a presentation of the results you can join PTA members Wednesday, May 18th 11am-1pm for a results review and discussion session. For more information, contact the Palo Alto Developmental Assets Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.