A YMCA of Silicon Valley Initiative
Home | Donate | Español | Tiếng Việt | Contact
Project Cornerstone

Developmental Assets

Developmental assets are the positive values, relationships, skills and experiences that help children and teens thrive. Young people with high asset levels are most likely to make healthy choices, while those with lower asset levels are more likely to get involved with negative or risky behaviors like violence, trouble in school, drug and alcohol use and more. (Search Institute created the developmental assets framework. For more information, visit www.search-institute.org.)

  • For printable age-appropriate asset lists in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, click here!
  • Eight Keys to Thriving Youth offers an easy-to-understand explanation of the eight developmental asset categories.
  • To see the results of the 2017 Silicon Valley developmental assets survey report, click here!

Project Cornerstone offers workshops and programs to help adults better understand how to build assets in young people.


1. FAMILY SUPPORT Family life provides high levels of love and support.
2. POSITIVE FAMILY COMMUNICATION Young person and their parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parent(s).
3. OTHER ADULT RELATIONSHIPS Young person receives support from three or more non-parent adults.
4. CARING NEIGHBORHOOD Young person experiences caring neighbors.
5. CARING SCHOOL CLIMATE School provides a caring, encouraging environment.
6. PARENT INVOLVEMENT IN SCHOOLING Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.
7. COMMUNITY VALUES YOUTH Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
8. YOUTH AS RESOURCES Young people are given useful roles in the community.
9. SERVICE TO OTHERS Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.  
10. SAFETY Young person feels safe at home, school, and in the neighborhood.
11. FAMILY BOUNDARIES Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person's whereabouts.
12. SCHOOL BOUNDARIES School provides clear rules and consequences.
13. NEIGHBORHOOD BOUNDARIES Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people's behavior.
14. ADULT ROLE MODELS Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
15. POSITIVE PEER INFLUENCE Young person's best friends model responsible behavior.
16. HIGH EXPECTATIONS Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.
17. CREATIVE ACTIVITIES Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.
18. YOUTH PROGRAMS Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in the community.
19. RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.
For elementary school students: Young person spends some time most days both in high-quality interaction with parents and doing things at home other than watching TV or playing video games.
For middle and high school students: Young person is out with friends with nothing special to do two or fewer nights per week.
21. ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION Young person is motivated to do well in school.
22. SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT Young person is actively engaged in learning.
23. HOMEWORK Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.
24. BONDING TO SCHOOL Young person cares about their school.
25. READING FOR PLEASURE Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.
26. CARING Young person places high value on helping other people.
27. EQUALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
28. INTEGRITY Young person stands up for their beliefs.
29. HONESTY Young person "tells the truth even when it is not easy."
30. RESPONSIBILITY Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility.
31. HEALTHY LIFESTYLE (elementary school students): Parent(s) tell the child it is important to have good health habits.
RESTRAINT (middle and high school students)Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.
32. PLANNING AND DECISION MAKING Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
33. INTERPERSONAL COMPETENCE Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
34. CULTURAL COMPETENCE Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.
35. RESISTANCE SKILLS Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
36. PEACEFUL CONFLICT RESOLUTION Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.
37. PERSONAL POWER Young person feels he or she has control over "things that happen to me."
38. SELF-ESTEEM Young person reports having a high self-esteem.
39. SENSE OF PURPOSE Young person reports that "my life has a purpose."
40. POSITIVE VIEW OF PERSONAL FUTURE Young person is optimistic about their personal future.
41. POSITIVE CULTURAL IDENTITY Youth feels comfortable with and proud of their identity, including but not limited to ability status, body size, ethnicity, faith/religion, family status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, immigration status, language, race, and sexual orientation. *

* Project Cornerstone established this asset for Silicon Valley as a result of local community input.

Copyright © 1997, 2007 by Search Institute. All rights reserved. This chart may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial use only (with this copyright line).

Make a Gift
Volunteer Center
Training & Events
Asset-a-Month Calendar

Sign up now for our email updates

Bookmark and Share
© 2016 YMCA of Silicon Valley. All rights reserved.