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Spotlighting Strategies for Prevention Learning Lab

Hosted by: Gwinnett United in Drug Education, Inc.

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

The Spotlighting Strategies for Prevention Learning Lab took place three times during Georgia Teen Institute’s in-person summer programming, which took place on June 1216, 2023. There were 17 Youth Action Teams in attendance, with a total of 73 youth attending this learning lab. Fifteen Georgia counties were represented (Barrow, Crisp, Early, Fayette, Floyd, Gwinnett, Lowndes, Newton, Meriwether, Montgomery, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Walton, and Warren). 

When participants create a prevention project with their youth action team at Georgia Teen Institute, it is important that they use various strategies in the process. In this learning lab, kids learned about and experienced the seven community-level change strategies. By doing so, they gained ideas to make their prevention project even better, which helped them create positive change in their community and beyond. This session educated participants about the consequences of alcohol and other drug misuse and empowered them to use evidence-based approaches to reduce alcohol and other drug misuse. 

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How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?

Youth around a table

Participants from around Georgia shared in the Spotlighting Strategies for Prevention Learning Lab. Each community has a unique set of challenges as it relates to substance use and misuse. Program participants used data from the Georgia Student Health Survey and the Georgia KIDS COUNT to identify needs in the community in order to build an action plan for change. 

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Which prevention strategy(ies), as defined by SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, best fit your Communities Talk activity?

  • Community-Based Process Strategy - focuses on enhancing the capacity of the community to address AOD issues through organizing, planning, collaboration, coalition building, and networking.
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What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?

  • Hold meetings or discussion groups on alcohol and/or other drug misuse prevention.
  • Capacity Building: Work with statewide stakeholders, including youth, to create action plans to implement community change.
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Did you accomplish your goal(s)?


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What challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?

  • Since COVID, our program registration numbers are significantly lower.
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How did you overcome these challenges?

In order to provide opportunities for more Georgia youth to attend programming that is not residential, we are offering two one-day programs in different parts of the state (July 25, Statesboro, GA; September 9, Duluth, GA). During programming, participants will have the opportunity to attend the learning lab session.

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What are your next steps?

Kids around the table with posted notes
  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Create a public education campaign to raise awareness and/or change behaviors around underage drinking (i.e., create PSAs and other promotional materials)
  • Provide technical assistance to youth action teams that attended in order to provide additional tools and resources to implement learning.
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If you’ve conducted Communities Talk activities in prior years, how has your repeated participation contributed to progress in achieving your prevention goals?

By continuing to provide activities such as this during our Georgia Teen Institute programming, we are able to reach more youth across the state and provide real-life examples of how to implement prevention strategies in their local communities.

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Organizations that conduct Communities Talk activities often involve other organizations in the planning and execution of events. Please indicate which type(s) of organizations you involved in your activity planning.

  • Faith-based based organizations
  • Law enforcement
  • Youth-led organizations
  • Secondary schools
  • Charitable organizations
  • State and local government agencies (e.g., public health departments)
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Which of the following best describes the primary audience(s) for your Communities Talk activity?

  • Youth
  • Prevention specialists and volunteers
  • Youth leaders (e.g., coaches, parks and recreation personnel, and scouting leaders)
  • American Indian or Alaska Native community members
  • Asian community members
  • Black or African American community members
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBTQ) community members
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How did you reach and engage your primary audience(s) to encourage them to participate in your activity?

By providing an engaging, hands on experience that provides easy-to-use tools and resources to take back into their communities.

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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

3 kids with planning prevention projects
  • Prevention-related webinars

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