How you can Build Assets



On Your Own . . . Everyone – parents and guardians, grandparents, teachers, coaches, friends, youth workers, employers, youth, and others – can build assets.  It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money.  But it can make a tremendous difference in raising confident, caring young people.  What it takes is building relationships, spending time together, and being intentional about nurturing positive values and commitments.  Some things you can do:

ü      Get to know the names of kids who live around you.  Find out what interests them.

ü      Get to know what young people around you are really like, not just how they are portrayed in the media.

ü      Eat at least one meal together every day as a family. Take time to talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives.

ü      Volunteer as a tutor, mentor, or youth leader in a youth-serving program.


In Your Organization….if you are involved in an organization such as school, youth organization, congregation, family service agency, health-care provider, or business—either as an employee or volunteer-you can encourage asset-building action with that organization. Some possibilities:

ü      Educate your constituency, employees, or customers about their potential as asset builders.

ü      Develop polices that allow parents to be involved in their children’s lives and that encourage all employees to get involved with the kids in the community.

ü      Contribute time, talent, or resources to support community asset-building efforts.

ü      Develop or strengthen programs and activities that build assets, such as mentoring, service-learning activities, peer helping, and recreation.


In Your Community    hundreds of communities across the United States are discovering the power and potential of uniting efforts for asset building.  They involve people from all parts of the community in shaping and coordination strategies that will help all young people be more likely to succeed. You can use your influence in the community to:

ü      Talk about asset building with formal and informal leaders and other influential people you know. Get their support for asset building.

ü      Conduct a survey to measure the asset levels of your people in your community. (Call Search Institute for information.)

ü      Develop opportunities for youth to contribute to the community through sharing their perspectives and taking action and leadership.

ü      Celebrate and honor the commitments of people who dedicate their lives and time to children and youth.



Six Keys to Asset Building

It doesn’t cost a lot of money or require special training to build developmental assets. Here are six keys to guide asset-building action.

  1. Everyone can build assets. Building assets requires consistent messages across community. All youths, adults, and children play a role.
  2. All young people need assets. While it is crucial to pay special attention to those youth who have the least (economically or emotionally), nearly all young people need more assets than they have.
  3. Relationships are key. Strong relationships between adults and young people, young people and their peers, and teenager and children are central to asset building.
  4. Asset building is an ongoing process. Building assets starts when a child is born and continues through high school and beyond.
  5. Consistent messages are important. Young people need to receive consistent messages about what’s important and what’s expected from their families, schools, communities, the media, and other resources.
  6. Intentional redundancy is important. Assets must be continually reinforced across the years and in all areas of a young person’s life.


The next article in this series will be about You Can Make a Difference for Kids

The 40 assets all kids need to succeed!


For more information about asset building and Healthy Communities/Healthy Youth, contact Lori Johnson, Tama County Empowerment Coordinator, Tama County Public Health and Home Care, at (641) 484-4788 or 1-866-484-4788.