Lived experiences are the bones of this article: the lived experiences of delivering the resources needed for secure futures to young people in highly disadvantaged contexts. At the heart of the article is a biography of a young woman who captures the imagination. I share her story because the strength of her internal assets and her interest in articulating them contrast with her risk factors and the immediate impression of her demeanour. This article details the process of discovering these strengths through an interview that was part of a service evaluation. It offers a detailed walk through the processes that researchers and practitioners take to find the internal strengths of young people. In placing myself — an evaluation researcher — within the story, I offer a complete service landscape picture stretching from the lived experience of being under-resourced to the efficacy of interventions and then on to the production of policy evidence. Evidence is now a central plank in the struggle to close equality gaps, but its production is typically invisible. I set the scene with a brief account of myself — the storyteller — and then I turn to the question of what we broadly know about disadvantage experienced by young Australians. This is followed by a detailed account of the production of evaluation evidence. This inter-subjective account of the researcher and the researched, enables the story of a young woman who embodied and lived these ‘statistics’ to take flight. It offers insights into her assets and how they interact with the resourcing and policy landscape as she experiences it. Finally, I connect this story of how we find out about assets to the good practices identified in Seymour's Youth Development Research Project, which organises the articles in this issue.