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The organization I work at offers a gang and violence prevention program which provides lessons to members in bullying prevention, as well as an emphasis on resiliency training to give members, ages 10 -14, the skills they need to grow up confident, caring and responsible. I'm having trouble planning out several one-hour long programming activities for this age-range and with that background in mind. Any ideas to get the ball rolling in my head would be much appreciated!

Hello Katie,
Thank you for your question and for your dedication to preventing gangs and violence in your community! Based on my personal knowledge of the literature and this topic, there are five areas/competencies that contribute to resilience that I find to be very actionable and a great place to start when designing an intervention on this topic: health (physical and mental), communication skills, family/peer belonging and cohesion, problem-solving skills, and leadership skills. Perhaps starting with these areas will help you narrow down your focus for the programming activities you are working to develop.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, it may help to talk to other stakeholders in the community—including the youth themselves—about what they think would help youth become more resilient (able to bounce back from hard times) and to be more caring and confident, particularly as it relates to the context in which you are working. You may be surprised at the actionable information you can get from the youth themselves -they are the experts on what it is like to be a young person in this day and age. Evidence also shows that programs developed along with the people who are most influenced by a particular issue (in this case gang and violence prevention) tend to be the most impactful and sustainable.
You can learn more about how to assess the needs of youth in your community related to this topic in Chapter 3 of the Community Toolbox: Assessing Community Needs and Resources (particularly Sections 4, 6, & 10). You may also want to explore Chapter 18 may also help you with intervention design and participatory approaches to planning community interventions.
Finally, there are many existing evidence-based violence prevention programs out there (some of which you can see on the CDC’s website:; also check out the link for bullying research on the left-hand side of this page). You may want to start with an existing evidence-based strategy and then tailor it best fit with your community’s needs, culture, and history. If you take this route, I would encourage you to check out Chapter 19 of the Community Toolbox.
I hope this response answers your question. Thank you for using Ask an Advisor. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

Question Date: Fri, 04/21/2017