Last week, members of REACH’s prevention team attended the Jane Doe, Inc. (JDI) Prevention Showcase. Held annually, the Prevention Showcase brings together preventionists from across Massachusetts to build relationships and deeply explore intersecting issues within the work. This year the morning sessions focused on evaluation while the afternoon broadly centered on deepening prevention efforts in schools and communities.
Both speakers in the morning acknowledged resistance to evaluation and explained how
evaluation should be about “working to improve, not trying to prove” and “keeping the value in evaluation.” Instead of solely regarding evaluation as inflexible pre and post-tests, evaluation can be considered a systematic yet alternative assessment of skills, attitudes, or knowledge.
After lunch members of Asian Task Force’s Youth Empowerment Program gave a presentation about their youth programs and how they intentionally work to center marginalized voices. They illustrated an aspect of their educational work by leading the group in an interactive reflected on personal and social perceptions of identity.
The day ended with two sections of Ignite Talks. These were short five minute talks that served as a teaser for longer conversations. Laura Penney-Edwards of Safe Passage and Jessica Teperow, REACH’s Director of Prevention Programs, started the talks. Both spoke of different ways to engage the community whether through specific programs or by building relationships between community members and agencies.
The next round of Ignite Talks focused on prevention within schools. Regi Wingo of Elizabeth Freeman Center, Amparo Cruz and Bailiner Cruz of Pathways for Change, Inc., and Ariana Lee of Wayside Youth and Family Support Network gave Ignite Talks and then led deeper conversations on meeting the needs of different service areas and school populations.
The day ended with a goody bag (thanks to JDI for the Prevention Jenga!) and a reflection. In what can be a solitary field, collaborative spaces foster rich dialogue and learning, REACH will continue to build relationships, share spaces, and work to prevent domestic violence.