Rethinking Poverty: The power of 40

Mission | November 10, 2015

What are the 40 positive assets in a young person’s life that can help them thrive? How can knowing and understanding these assets shape efforts to reach out to others, no matter their gender, age, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or ability?

Researched and developed by the Search Institute, the official name for these 40 positive life circumstances is “Developmental Assets.”

The Power of 40 will be held on Monday, Nov 16, 6:30 p.m. in the Library Commons, a continuation of St. Paul’s Rethinking Poverty series. It is free and open to the public. Participants can attend one, a few, or all sessions.

“Community professionals will facilitate a discussion about poverty risk factors for children and adults by illustrating developmental assets and connecting them to trauma,” said Dana Welser, coordinator of St. Paul’s Neighborhood Schools Partnership. “​Identifying the needs that those in poverty struggle with allows us to create a plan of how ​to reach out and help others.”

In 1990, Search Institute released a framework of 40 Developmental Assets, which identifies a set of skills, experiences, relationships, and behaviors that enable young people to develop into successful and contributing adults. Data collected from Search Institute surveys of more than 4 million children and youth from all backgrounds and situations has consistently demonstrated that the more Developmental Assets young people acquire, the better their chances of succeeding in school and becoming happy, healthy, and contributing members of their communities and society.

The assets are:

    1. Family Support | Family life provides high levels of love and support.
    2. Positive Family Communication | Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parents.
    3. Other Adult Relationships | Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.
    4. Caring Neighborhood | Young person experiences caring neighbors.
    5. Caring School Climate | School provides a caring, encouraging environment.
    6. Parent Involvement in Schooling | Parent(s) are actively involved in helping the child succeed in school.


    1. Community Values Youth | Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
    2. Youth as Resources | Young people are given useful roles in the community.
    3. Service to Others | Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.
    4. Safety | Young person feels safe at home, school, and in the neighborhood.


    1. Family Boundaries | Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts.
    2. School Boundaries | School provides clear rules and consequences.
    3. Neighborhood Boundaries | Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior.
    4. Adult Role Models | Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
    5. Positive Peer Influence | Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior.
    6. High Expectations | Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.


  1. Creative Activities | Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.
  2. Youth Programs | Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in community organizations.
  3. Religious Community | Young person spends one hour or more per week in activities in a religious institution.
  4. Time at Home | Young person is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week.


    1. Achievement Motivation | Young person is motivated to do well in school.
    2. School Engagement | Young person is actively engaged in learning.
    3. Homework | Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.
    4. Bonding to School | Young person cares about her or his school.
    5. Reading for Pleasure | Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.


    1. Caring | Young Person places high value on helping other people.
    2. Equality and Social Justice | Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
    3. Integrity | Young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs.
    4. Honesty | Young person “tells the truth even when it is not easy.”
    5. Responsibility | Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility.
    6. Restraint | Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.


    1. Planning and Decision Making | Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
    2. Interpersonal Competence | Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
    3. Cultural Competence | Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.
    4. Resistance Skills | Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
    5. Peaceful Conflict Resolution | Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.


  1. Personal Power | Young person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.”
  2. Self-Esteem | Young person reports having a high self-esteem.
  3. Sense of Purpose | Young person reports that “my life has a purpose.”
  4. Positive View of Personal Future | Young person is optimistic about her or his personal future.



Coming in January and February: Experience first-hand a simulation of what it’s like to live in poverty.

One comment on “Rethinking Poverty: The power of 40”

  • Ben Cleaveland

    November 12, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I have a handout I will drop off that is from the Trauma-Informed Care Consortium that talks about the next step of Resilience. It goes hand in hand with the 40 assets.

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,





He then says,



18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”