196474 Participatory evaluation of a community youth violence prevention initiative

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rachel Skeete , Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
Barbara Tinney, MSW , New Haven Family Alliance, Inc., New Haven, CT
Georgina Lucas, MSW , Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
Leslie Curry, PhD , Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT
Maya Greene, MPH , Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
Marjorie S. Rosenthal, MD, MPH , School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Background: The Street Outreach Worker (SOW) Program, a tertiary violence prevention initiative operated by a community-based organization in New Haven, CT, is designed to reduce gun violence by connecting at-risk youth with adults previously involved in violence but now committed to mentoring youth. A community-academic partnership was formed to conduct a participatory evaluation of this program.

Methods: We conducted in-depth interviews with a sample of youth participants, SOWs and program administrators. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and synthesized into common themes using the constant comparative method of qualitative analysis.

Results: A unifying theme was that both youth and SOWs described their relationship as a proxy family: both attribute recruitment and engagement to the positive role modeling and relationships between the youth and the SOWs. A second theme is the role of cultural, job-readiness, youth development, and recreational activities in helping youth avoid violence as well as bringing together youth from territorial neighborhoods. A third theme is that while the exposure to pro-social alternatives prevents gun violence, employment opportunities are necessary to sustain anti-violent behavior.

Conclusions: There is perceived value in human capital relationships, and prosocial activities for preventing youth violence. Youth, SOWs and administrators perceive that job placement and funding for a community recreational center will be paramount to maintaining gains in violence reduction. To ensure success of SOW programs, the importance of targeting resources to sustain the relationships between mentors and youth and promote economic opportunities should not be underestimated.

Learning Objectives:
List program elements for this community violence prevention initiative. Describe views on best practices for a community youth violence prevention program from three distinct perspectives. Discuss the utility of a process evaluation in the early stages of program implementation.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Yale Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and have had both didactic and experiential training in community-based participatory research and methodology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.