Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

People Reaching Out, Inc.: The Valley Hi Community Mobilization Project

The Valley Hi Community Mobilization Project (VHCMP) addresses the contributing factors for substance use (specifically alcohol and marijuana use) and gang activity among youth by providing opportunities for young community members to participate in safe and constructive activities during out-of-school hours. These activities focus on strengthening individual and community assets and involving community stakeholders in grassroots efforts.

VHCMP combines two models that incorporate a range of strategies (e.g., youth advocacy, community mobilization, community identity, improving the physical environment): the Valley Hi Youth Adult Coalition (VHYAC) and the Students Reaching Out Program (SRO). VHYAC works with community members, law enforcement, school district personnel, teachers, faith-based organizations, parents, media, and local businesses in a multi-level prevention approach. SRO engages 15 to 30 high school and middle school youth annually in youth-led, community advocacy projects that focus on knowledge and skill development: youth members complete 700 hours of trainings, community and coalition activities, and youth-led projects, as well as meet for 90 minutes each week throughout the year to discuss prevention topics and community strategies (e.g., team building, youth leadership, substance abuse prevention, violence prevention, cultural competency, community mapping, youth advocacy, youth-adult partnerships, project design and implementation, evaluation). All participants have the opportunity—and responsibility—to plan and implement community-based research projects, based on their collective vision for creating a healthier and stronger neighborhood.

In addition, all SRO youth members are invited to participate in the VHYAC, which applies the CADCA coalition model of using a formal structure to promote a safe, healthy, and drug-free community. Youth members are responsible for co-facilitating coalition meetings and mobilizing the adult members around the community projects and service-learning activities identified by youth community members. As a previous Drug Free Community Grantee, the Valley Hi Youth Adult Coalition has developed a comprehensive partner network that consists of 40 members from the 12 community sectors, and uses the Strategic Prevention Framework to inform all activities. The coalition meets at least once per month for approximately two hours to enhance youth-adult relationships and activities, review community data, and strategize ways to provide supports to the community through youth-led community projects.

With funding from SAMHSA’s FY2014 Subcontracts to Build Evaluation Capacity for Evidence-Based Interventions, People Reaching Out, Inc. will enhance the evaluation of VHCMP to broaden the scope and rigor of the previous evaluation by including population-level methods, and to improve the capacity of evaluation staff to carry out the enhancement plan more effectively. Specific activities will include:

  • Using the Time Series Design with Comparison Group (ITS-CG) approach to collect data at regular intervals before and after the intervention
  • Using the ITS-CG to collect data from a comparison community that did not receive the same or similar interventions as the Valley Hi community
  • Enriching VHCMP’s overall evaluation capacity through specific professional development trainings in the areas of quantitative analysis and evaluation methodologies


Contacts

Staci Anderson
President & CEO
People Reaching Out, Inc.
5299 Auburn Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95841
Phone: (916) 576-3300, ext. 302
Email: stacia@peoplereachingout.org

Ashley Nittle
Evaluation Manager
People Reaching Out, Inc.
5299 Auburn Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95841
Phone: (916) 576-3300, ext. 302
Email: ashleyn@peoplereachingout.org