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How to Engage Youths

September 05, 1997

Developmental assets, found by the Search Institute to lower risky behavior in children and adolescents, include:

* Support--family support, positive family communication, other adult relationships, a caring neighborhood, caring school climate, parent involvement in schooling;

* Empowerment--community values, youth given useful roles, community services, safety;

* Boundaries and expectations--family, school and neighborhood boundaries, adult role models, positive peer influence, high expectations;

* Constructive use of time--music, art and drama, sports clubs and organizations, religious community, time at home;

* Educational commitment--achievement motivation, school performance, homework, bonding to school, reading for pleasure;

* Positive values--helping others, equality and social justice, personal integrity, honesty and responsibility, behavioral restraint;

* Social competencies--planning and decision-making, interpersonal and cultural competence, resistance skills, nonviolent conflict resolution;

* Positive identity--personal control, self-esteem, sense of purpose, positive view of personal future.

Further information may be obtained through the Search Institute, 700 S. 3rd Street, Suite 210, Minneapolis, MN 55415; (800) 888-7828; fax, (612) 376-8956; e-mail,; or Web site,

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