Why focus on the after when we can focus on the now? One of YES's main priority is the building of Developmental Assets. The higher a child’s Asset level the less likely that child will engage, participate in,  and support at risk behavior.

Asset building is a positive approach to working with children and youth that focuses on cultivating the relationships, opportunities, skills, values, and commitments they need to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. It is based on Search Institute’s  research-based framework of 40 Developmental Assets. Click here for more information about developmental assets.


Benefits of Asset Building 

  • The more assets young people experience, the better. Youth with high asset levels are the likely they are to engage in high-risk behaviors and are more likely they are to engage in thriving behaviors. For example, youth with high asset levels (31–40) are 15 times less likely to use alcohol than those with 0–10 assets. Learn more about the relationship between assets and youth outcomes.  http://www.search-institute.org/research/assets/assetpower
  • Assets matter for all groups of youth. These kinds of relationships hold true across all groups of youth studied, including those from many racial-ethnic backgrounds, communities of all sizes, and different socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Asset building offers common ground and a shared vision for what young people need to succeed. The framework is used by people from all sectors of society, across the ideological spectrum, and from a wide range of religious traditions, including people who are not religious.
  • Being intentional about building assets in interfaith service-learning activities ensures that the efforts contribute to young people’s social, emotional, and spiritual growth.
  • The research base that grounds the framework of Developmental Assets is useful for intentional program design and evaluation, and for speaking with potential funders.

What Makes Asset Building Work?

  • The focus is on strengths, not problems or deficits. Asset building recognizes that young people are resources to their communities, not problems to be fixed or pushed aside.
  • Young people are recognized as resources for asset building, and their involvement as leaders is vital.
  • Everyone can build assets, not just professionals. Asset builders can include young people, parents, extended family members, youth workers, neighbors, and teachers.
  • Cultivating meaningful, sustained relationships is a major focus. Assets are built through enduring relationships across generations, within families, among peers, and throughout community and society.

How Asset Building Enriches Service-Learning

Being intentional about building assets ensures that service-learning efforts not only meet community needs, but contribute to young people’s social, emotional, and spiritual growth.The asset framework and asset-building approaches can enrich service-learning by . . .

  • Highlighting important, measurable youth development goals to intentionally address through service-learning.
  • Emphasizing the importance of nurturing relationships throughout the service-learning process.
  • Build bridges to other sectors in the community that are often committed to building assets, including education, youth development, prevention, and juvenile justice.
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