We’re in This Together – Even When We’re Apart


ad you asked me three months ago about hosting a 4-Day Green Dot Certification Training on a virtual platform, I would have laughed and said, “Absolutely not.” As a training team full of extroverts, I know I wasn’t the only one with that opinion. To say I was apprehensive is an understatement. How could we possibly build relationships and connection via a computer screen? How could we engage the intrinsic motivation of participants that’s necessary for effective prevention? How can we stay committed – both as trainers and participants – for a FULL four days???

At Alteristic, we take pride in our in-person trainings, including the effectiveness of our trainers and our ability to foster inspiration and connection among the participants; our trainings are interactive, hands-on, and dynamic. Of course, virtual platforms have had a longstanding role in our work through virtual technical assistance and monthly TA webinars. Our team has certainly frequented the conversation of what role expanding virtually has in prevention. But, when the world changed on a dime, there was no longer time to question whether or not we could conduct our work virtually – it suddenly became how we would and the idea of a virtual 4-Day certification training seemed quite challenging.

It’s a good thing the team at Alteristic has never been afraid of a challenge.

In May, we held our first virtual Green Dot Institute (GDI). Participants registered from Florida to Alaska and everywhere in between – not only were we leaping into the virtual world head first, but we were doing it across five time zones!

Admittedly, we were all a little nervous. These folks had planned on attending the GDI that was scheduled for March in Miami, so we hoped that participating from their couches would be almost as fun.

We prepped, we planned, we Zoomed, and before we knew it, the first day kicked off and we found our groove. Just like our in-person offerings, our virtual certification training prepared participants to implement the Green Dot Strategy on their college campuses. They left with new skills, prepared to facilitate the curricular content, and built connection with Green Dot partners across the country. Of course, our authenticity as a training team did not diminish on a virtual platform. Between all of the important content, we played virtual games with a healthy dose of competition among the Alteristic trainers who each made the case that they had the best team of the GDI. By the time Friday rolled around, we couldn’t believe the four days were already over!

People had fun. They felt connected. They were intrinsically motivated. They were prepared. By the numbers, we had 28 participants, 19 campuses, 6 trainers, 28 hours together on Zoom, and countless memories. We met the challenge.

It’s no secret that over the past few months, there’s been a feeling of “what’s next?” and the need to plan for 48 different contingencies when thinking about what the world will look like as we continue to move forward.

Our hope is that our new normal is one where bystanders look out for one another to keep our communities safe, and in order for this to happen, people like the amazing participants at the May GDI will need to engage their college campuses into action.

We’re in this together – even when we’re apart.

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