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Educate Yourself on the Assets, and Make the Community a Better Place

Before I came to be a summer intern at the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families, I had only heard of “assets” and “asset building” probably once or twice. I had taken the Youth Risk Behavior Survey in eighth grade and could tell that they were testing to see about the bad things happening in the community, but that was about all I knew. However, now that I am on my third week of being an intern, I have luckily been extremely well-educated on the assets, and how they are adding to and can continue to add to our community. Seeing all of the assets right in front of you is a great way to realize what you do and don’t have, and become aware of how they can help our community.

The Developmental Assets are 40 measures of healthy development that promote positive outcomes and protect youth against risk behaviors. If you have 0-10 assets, you are at risk, if you have 11-20 assets, you are vulnerable, if you have 21-30 assets, you are adequate, and if you have 31-40 assets, you are optimal. The sad truth is that over half of Arlington’s youth are vulnerable and at risk. Ultimately, the more assets you have, the less risky behavior you are likely to be/become involved in, thus, building assets is PREVENTION.

Below I have listed all of the developmental assets. Look at the ones you or people you know have and don’t have, and try to figure out how you can build these assets in yourself and others. Arlington is already a great place to live, but there is definitely some room for improvement, and this hit me when I saw the assets. Becoming aware of them is the first step to building them. I recommend everyone educates themselves, and uses this education to help others to build them. Building assets and building the community is a team effort, and an effort that can help the community in millions of different ways.

40 Assets:

External Assets:

·         Support:

o   Family support

o   Positive family communication

o   Having other adult relationships

o   Having a caring neighborhood

o   Having a caring school climate

o   Having parents involved in school

·         Empowerment:

o   Community values youth

o   Youth are valued as resources

o   Give service to others

o   Feel safe in community

·         Boundaries & Expectations:

o   Family boundaries

o   School boundaries

o   Neighborhood boundaries

o   Adult role models

o   Positive peer influence

o   High expectations

·         Constructive Use of Time:

o   Creative activities

o   Youth programs

o   Religious community

o   Time at home

Internal Assets:

·         Commitment to Learning:

o   Achievement motivation

o   School engagement

o   Homework

o   Bonding to school

o   Reading for pleasure

·         Positive Values:

o   Caring

o   Equality & social justice

o   Integrity

o   Honesty

o   Responsibility

o   Restraint

·         Social Competencies:

o   Planning and decision making

o   Interpersonal competence

o   Cultural competence

o   Resistance Skills

o   Peaceful conflict resolution

·         Positive Identity:

o   Personal power

o   Self-esteem

o   Sense of purpose

o   Positive view of future


Posted: Jul 18, 2013 by Rachel Robertson

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