Unexpected Outcomes


STEM education can be an interdisciplinary or trans-disciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world problem-based and performance-based lessons. At this level, STEM education exemplifies the axiom "the whole is more than the sum of the parts."

The inspiration for our nonprofit was to "save the bunnies" but what we found was that our programs and the animal-human bonds were mutually beneficial.  They helped the kids and it strengthened families. As Caleb says "it's like the bunnies rescued us right back."


It's more than just inspiration, engagement and preparation in STEM content areas.  We are now also quantifying what we found was a natural by-product: Our  families report that they are closer and healthier because of our programs.   We now ask  our participating families to rate their Family Assets© at the beginning and conclusion of our Rabbit Foster Program or Volunteer Program.



Search Institute’s research on thriving families evolved from
The American Family Assets Study which presented a compelling national portrait of families, and introduces the 40 Family Assets©—relationships, interactions, opportunities, and values. 

Positive communication, Affection, Emotional openness, Support for "Sparks"

Establishing ROUTINES
Family meals, Shared activities, Meaningful traditions, Dependability

Openness on tough topics, Fair rules, Defined boundaries, Clear expectations

ADAPTING to challenges
Management of daily commitments, Adaptability, Problem solving,
Decision Making

Connecting to COMMUNITY
Neighborhood cohesion, Relationships with others, Enriching activities,
Supportive resources

These strengths are more commonly associated with young people’s well-being than the family’s structure, income, education, immigrant status, community type, and other demographic factors. Furthermore, these strengths are present in all types of families, and all types of families can be more intentional about nurturing them.

The American Family Assets Study
Amy K. Syvertsen, Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, and Peter C. Scalesere.

Ages 3-5
Ages 5-9
Ages 8-12
Ages 12-18


Ages 3-5
Ages 5-9
Ages 8-12
Ages 12-18

40 Developmental Assets
Copyright © 1997, 2007 by Search Institute. All rights reserved. This chart may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial use only (with this copyright line). No other use is permitted without prior permission from Search Institute, 615 First Avenue N.E., Suite 125, Minneapolis, MN 55413; 800-888-7828. See Search Institute's Permissions Guidelines and Request Form. The following are registered trademarks of Search Institute: Search Institute®, Developmental Assets® and Healthy Communities • Healthy Youth®.