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Student Support » Cornerstone » Overview


Project Cornerstone is a Santa Clara County initiative which motivates and supports all individuals and organizations to come together to nurture and develop competent, caring and responsible children and youth. It was founded by the Youth Alliance (YMCA, YWCA, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, Campfire USA, Estrella Family Services, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts). It has been funded by the following organizations: David & Lucile Packard Foundation, California Wellness Foundation, IBM The Health Trust, Knight Foundation, City of San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services, Santa Clara Country Public Healthy Department, Schwab Foundation, as well as others.

Through years of research, the Search Institute of Minneapolis identified 40 developmental assets – or essential building blocks – needed by young people to grow into healthy, caring and responsible adults. Today, communities across the United States are working together with new energy and inspiration to create a more positive future for their children and teenagers, using the “40 developmental assets” as their launching pad.

Why are the 40 developmental assets so important?

Research shows that the more assets a child has the more likely they are to exhibit positive attitudes and behaviors:
  • Succeeding in school
  • Helping others
  • Valuing diversity
  • Maintaining good health
  • Exhibiting leadership
  • Resisting danger
  • Delaying gratification
  • Overcoming adversity

Recent studies in Santa Clara County show that the average youth has only 18.2 assets out of the 40 developmental assets possible. Students at Bret Harte Middle School, average a bit higher—21.9 assets. Our goal is to help all youth in acquiring an average of 30 or more developmental assets at any given time.

40 Developmental Assets

External Assets

1. Family support
2. Positive family communication
3. Other adult relationship
4. Caring neighborhood
5. Caring school climate
6. Parent involvement in schooling

7. Community values youth
8. Youth as resources
9. Service to others
10. Safety

Boundaries & Expectations
11. Family boundaries
12. School boundaries
13. Neighborhood boundaries
14. Adult role models
15. Positive peer influence
16. High expectations

Constructive Use of Time
17. Creative activities
18. Youth programs
19. Religious community
20. Time at home

Internal Assets

Commitment to Learning
21. Achievement motivation
22. School engagement
23. Homework
24. Bonding to school
25. Reading for pleasure

Positive Values
26. Caring
27. Equality and social justice
28. Integrity
29. Honesty
30. Responsibility
31. Restraint

Social Competencies
32. Planning and decision making
33. Interpersonal competence
34. Cultural competence
35. Resistance skills
36. Peaceful conflict resolution

Positive Identity
37. Personal power
38. Self-esteem
39. Sense of purpose
40. Positive view of personal future