Developmental Assets Initiative

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Since the Youth Services Bureau was awarded a grant by the Middlesex United Way in the fall of 2006, we have been working to promote this strength-based youth development model in our community and have committed to do so in partnership with Middletown youth.


Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets are concrete, common sense, positive experiences and qualities essential to raising successful young people. These assets have the power during critical adolescent years to influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible adults.

The YSB, along with the initiative's steering team, The Assets Community Team (ACT), have been busy hosting presentations, forums, and trainings, to help members of the community, young and old, become asset champions on behalf of Middletown youth.


The Developmental Asset framework is categorized into two groups of 20 assets. 

External Assets

External assets are the positive experiences young people receive from the world around them. These 20 assets are about supporting and empowering young people, about setting boundaries and expectations, and about positive and constructive use of young people's time.

External assets identify important roles that families, schools, congregations, neighborhoods, and youth organizations can play in promoting healthy development.

Internal Assets

The twenty internal assets identify those characteristics and behaviors that reflect positive internal growth and development of young people. These assets are about positive values and identities, social competencies, and commitment to learning.

Students present on the power of assets in their lives at a Spencer School PTA meeting

The internal Developmental Assets will help these young people make thoughtful and positive choices and, in turn, be better prepared for situations in life that challenge their inner strength and confidence.

Although a young person does not need all 40 of these assets, it has been proven, both nationally and locally, that the more assets they have the more likely they will be to grow up healthy and successful and the less likely they will be to engage in risky behaviors.