The Developmental Assets® framework is based on 60 years of social science research compiled by the Search InstituteSM of Minnesota. This research identified 40Assets: concrete, common sense, positive experiences and personal qualities essential to raising successful young people. These assets have the power to influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible adults. Twenty-two of these assets can be directly influenced by schools.
No matter where or under what circumstances a child grows up, research shows that the more assets a child has the better they do in school and the less likely they are to engage in unhealthy risk behaviors. Children and youth develop assets through relationships with supportive adults, and all children need multiple supportive adults in their lives. Alaska ICE promotes the shared responsibility of all members of the community to build assets in kids, to help them become successful adults.
There is close alignment between developmental assets and the traditional Native values that form the foundation of many rural Alaska communities. The book, Helping Kids Succeed-Alaskan Style written ‘by and for Alaskans’, introduced the Developmental Assets® framework to many across the state. People statewide contributed over 4,000 ideas of ways they build the 40 assets in children and youth. We intentionally asked for and incorporated examples from Alaska Native communities. Additionally, we sought out the wisdom of Elders and rural village residents to better understand how each asset might be defined, traditionally. As a result, 10 of the assets were slightly modified, from the Search Institute definition.
Alaska ICE works to integrate community engagement principles with local traditional values to create sustainable community partnerships and strengthen our effectiveness in supporting youth.
Involving youth directly in schools and communities, giving them meaningful roles, and providing opportunities for them to learn and practice leadership skills is a key element of effective school reform and successful community engagement. Alaska ICE continues to focus on increasing opportunities for youth involvement in governance and organizational decision-making. At AASB’s annual Youth Leadership Institute and Youth Advocacy Institute, Alaska ICE works directly with students from across the state to develop their leadership and advocacy abilities.