Engaging a critical mass of a community is essential to sustained culture change that will result in a reduction of violence. The community program moves beyond working with the usual allies of rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs. This program stresses the importance of community wide support for violence prevention and employs strategies that involve bars, restaurants, bankers, volunteers, small businesses, and individuals and organizations across the social spectrum. A key is providing diverse opportunities to get involved so that community members have options for engagement that feel realistic and manageable in their daily lives.
Breaking down siloed approaches to prevention has been key to Claremont’s success in engaging and mobilizing their community in a new way. They have formed strong partnerships between a non-profit direct service provider, the local school district, the chamber of commerce, and a cross section of community organizations and key-stakeholders. While the community program focuses on the adult population and is distinct from the K-12 programs, the strategy utilizes a Green Dot Youth Leadership Summit in conjunction with the broader effort. This program harnesses the roles young people play in creating community norms outside the classroom. It is built to work hand-in-hand with the adult program, explicitly creating partnerships and collaborations that work toward the same end—a safer community.
A small coastal community on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Homer rallied together around prevention of violence after a victimization survey showed that over half of the women in their region had experienced domestic or sexual violence. Activists from the non-profit community, child welfare coalitions, and local businesses joined forces to plan and implement a broad effort to engage the community in a new way. Through the Community program, they trained bartenders, testified before their city council, brought the first ever high school training to Alaska, and encouraged businesses to challenge each other to create positive community impact through a ten-day prevention challenge. Each of these actions has forged new partnerships and created a safer culture in Homer.
Supported by the commitment of more than a dozen key partners representing ten agencies, Gainesville, FL has seen incredible impact. 64% of the population is African American, 49% of whom are between the ages of 15-34. The program’s strategies for identifying the influencers and potential early adopters are centered on supporting the ongoing work of their partnering agencies within the neighborhoods. Their first subgroups consisted of service providers from a variety of partnering organizations including social workers, librarians, and code enforcement officers. Many of the service providers were a key part in supporting residents as they went through training, strengthening the proactive norms to create a safe community.