Lessons Learned

The Youth Violence Prevention Centers (YVPCs) and their partners have learned valuable lessons to help guide other communities working to prevent youth violence. Lessons learned have focused primarily on developing surveillance systems, partnerships, program implementation, and sustainability.

surveillance systems

Surveillance Systems

  • Surveillance systems are built to collect data to track the magnitude and burden of youth violence and measure impact over time. Community-specific data help identify relevant risk and protective factors so that key stakeholders can tailor interventions specific to their community’s needs.
  • Surveillance systems inform data-driven strategies and guide community action. It is important to understand that each community is unique, and levels of funding and community engagement vary by community. Therefore, the availability of measures for youth violence and data collection methodologies may also vary by community.
  • Surveillance systems are built to collect data to track the magnitude and burden of youth violence and measure impact over time. Community-specific data help identify relevant risk and protective factors so that key stakeholders can tailor interventions specific to their community’s needs.
  • Surveillance systems inform data-driven strategies and guide community action. It is important to understand that each community is unique, and levels of funding and community engagement vary by community. Therefore, the availability of measures for youth violence and data collection methodologies may also vary by community.
partnerships

Partnerships

  • Community capacity building for violence prevention is a long-term process. Gaining trust and investment from the community first requires acknowledging the needs and agendas of each partner and relies on the quality of partnerships and capacity of schools, faith-based organizations, and other prominent community organizations.
  • It is equally important to build trust and relationships with community members and to proactively facilitate their participation in the research process, so that researchers are viewed as valued partners in effecting change.
  • Youth violence prevention is a collaborative process that involves multi-disciplinary and multi-sector partnerships. Reach and exposure to the intended audience are enhanced by diverse partnerships, community coalitions, and continuous outreach. Diverse partnerships demonstrate acceptance and buy-in from different community stakeholders, which is essential to enhance program reach and exposure.
program implementation

Program Implementation

  • To ensure successful implementation of programs and strategies, substantial and sufficient resources are required – especially during the planning and initial implementation phases.
  • Relying on volunteers to implement programs is not always sustainable; having the funds and resources to hire staff proves more effective in the long term.
  • For programs to facilitate community engagement and truly see positive outcomes, implementation staff can be embedded within existing programs and systems. Hiring staff from the community of interest can also help build trust, support, and valuable partnerships.
  • Challenges in community capacity, staff turnover, community population change, and program implementation call for a longer program implementation period to reach desired effectiveness.
sustainability

Sustainability

  • It is strategically advantageous to mix new, evidenced-based programs with others that the community is highly invested in to form an integrated youth violence prevention initiative that can be sustained over time.
  • Consistent funding is pivotal to the maintenance and impact of violence prevention programs. It is difficult to sustain programs once funding initiatives end. Establishing local organizations, such as non-profit organizations (i.e. 501(c)(3)s), allows communities to compete for more diverse funding streams and increase chances of sustainability and scale-up.
  • Establishing and maintaining programs and strategies within local agencies and community organizations through scale-up and replication across school districts, neighborhoods, cities, and state-wide are also key.
Building community. Preventing violence

The YVPCs research effective violence prevention approaches to promote thriving youth and build safer communities.

Page last reviewed: November 21, 2019