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It isn't Easy Growing Up in Today's World

Research done by Search Institute of Minneapolis, Minnesota shows that the average young person has fewer than half of the essential skills needed to become a healthy, well-adjusted adult. "The result," according to Search Institute, "is that too many young people are growing up ill-prepared to take their place in society."

The 40 key developmental assets as determined by the Search Institute:
Family support
Youth as resources
Good family communication*
Clear family boundaries
Adult role models
Youth programs
Creative activities
Reading for pleasure
Interpersonal competence*
Resistance skills*
Peaceful conflict resolution*
Positive view of personal future*
Other adult relationships
Caring school climate
Neighborhood boundaries
High expectations*
Parent involvement in schooling
Time at home
School engagement
Equality and social justice
Planning and decision-making*
Cultural competence
Sense of purpose*
Community that values youth
Service to others
Caring neighborhood
Clear school boundaries
Positive peer influence
Religious community
Commitment to learning
Bonding to school
Personal power*
*Indicates skills taught by Learning for Living®


  • Research indicates that the more assets a young person has, the less likely he or she is to engage in risky behaviors like illicit drug use, alcohol abuse, violence, and sexual activity.

  • The Search Institute surveyed nearly 100,000 6th- to 12th-graders in 213 towns and cities across the U.S. during the 1996-1997 school year and discovered that the average young person surveyed had only 18 of the 40 assets. Only 8 percent of youth in the survey experienced at least 31 of the 40 assets.

  • Learning for Living®, a non-profit organization located in Boulder, Colorado, is one of the few institutions in the nation that has undertaken the task of bringing life-competency skills to college and graduate-age people.

  • Unique in the scope and breadth of its work, Learning for Living® combines proven teaching methods, the latest research, and cutting-edge thinking to empower young people with the skills they need to transition from childhood to adulthood smoothly, to live more fulfilling and successful lives, and create the communities we all want to live in.


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