Speak Out & Make NOYS
is a health and safety awareness project that addresses a specific need in your community. So your first order of business is to identity the focus of your project. Who is your target audience and what are their needs?
A community can be your neighborhood, your organization, your age group, your school, your city, and even your state. Your first step is to identify what target audience you intend to focus on. Will it be…
- Youth ages 12-18?
- SADD members in your state?
- Your high school classmates?
Each community has it’s own unique problems, needs, and desires. Your second step is to identify these issues and decide which will be your focus. There are many ways to collect this information.
|“My advice to other youth is to find something you are really enthusiastic about and then to go out and make it happen.”
Amy Willis, Florida NOYS
A survey can give you specific information about your
target group. You can get personal preferences, opinions,
and information from smaller communities that may not be available anywhere else.
- You can gather statistical information from local, state and national sources. Ask yourself who would have the information I am looking for? For example:
- Local or state law enforcement agencies should be able to give you statistics on underage DUI citations, teenage motor vehicle crashes related to drugs and alcohol, and seat belt use estimates.
- Many local or state health and education departments sponsor drug and alcohol prevention programs so they may have statistics about teenage drinking and drug use.
- Local, state, and national youth safety organizations have trend data addressing the specific areas you are researching. You can find a list of contacts in the resource section of this manual.
- Use the library and Internet to research national organizations and their statistics. There is a list of Youth Safety Web Sights in the resource section of this manual. You can also use the major search engines to look for specific topics.
Tips for writing and conducting a Youth Survey
- First know what information you are trying to gather. Ask questions that will give you exactly the information you desire. Here are examples of questions that would help get the information you are looking for. Let’s say you are interested in why safety belts are not being used by your classmates. Avoid questions that include the words – Always, Ever and Never; they tend to limit your information.
How often do you wear your safety belt?
- Keep your questions short and specific. Try to steer clear of open-ended questions that require an essay type answer.
Do you agree with the new safety rules at school?
Don’t give away your
personal biases in a question.
Do you like the plans for the community youth center?
- Phrase questions/statements in your own words – something that you know your peers will understand and respond to.
How many times a week do you NOT wear your safety belt?
- Whenever possible, give multiple choice answers or use a rating system so that students can pick the best description.
How often have you driven a motor vehicle after having more than 1 drink?
- 1-3 times
- 4-6 times
- More than 7 times
On a scale of 1-5 (1 being not very important, 5 being very important). How important do you believe it is to use your seat belt if the car you are driving has air bags?
- You can discover students’ priorities by having them rank a list of options, or giving their own answers in ranked order.
Rank these 5 options in order of your personal preference. What drug and alcohol-free event should SADD sponsor this spring?
- ____ Pool party
____ Mock Crash
- Keep the survey short. Think about when students are going to fill these out. Do you have them as a captive audience like in class, or are you going to stop them in the halls. Ask yourself, would I personally take the time to fill out this survey under these conditions? While there are no rules, a good guideline is less than 10 questions, or less than 1-minute response time.
- Make sure that your survey is distributed to the full range of the population you want represented. Be sure to include members of a wide range of clubs, organizations, age groups, gender, race, etc. You can’t claim to represent the desires of your high school if you only survey female freshman or varsity football players.
- Get as large a survey sample as possible. The larger the sample surveyed the more reliable your results will be. At least 10% of your total target population would be a good starting point. Ask questions that will help you separate the results by male/female and possibly the year in school if that might be helpful.
The third step is to map out the assets and deficiencies of your community. Community mapping asks the question: what resources are available in my community for youth? And, what youth needs are not being met? Using all the material you have gathered, make a list below of the assets your community provides as well as its deficits.
Now that you have identified the target population, assessed the needs in your community, taken a survey, and mapped out your community’s assets and deficiencies, you are ready to decide on the goals of your project. Goals identify exactly what your project intends to accomplish. Goals give you a target, help keep you focused, limit distractions, and reduce detours. Most importantly they will act as your team’s inspiration and foundation helping you prioritize your time and energy.
| Example: City council's 2000 goal is to address
"Teen Issues" in our community
||Example: No "safe haven" place for youth to hang
Setting project goals can be broken out into 3 specific phases. These phases take you from general to specific.
Goals are broad statements about what you want to accomplish that directly address your community’s needs. Goals should challenge you to stretch, yet be attainable. If your project is ongoing, or if the completion date is more than 6 months off, you might need both long- and short-term goals. Short-term goals are simply small goals to get you to the larger goal.
|“Goals are very important to stay on track. Short-term goals provide the motivation to continue-when you achieve a minor goal you are always more excited to go after the bigger one.”
Kyra White, Arizona SADD
To increase usage of safety belts among students of North High School.
Use the Goal Worksheet to identify possible goals for your project.
Objectives break down your goals into measurable pieces. They help you identify ahead of time exactly the results you expect for each goal. Objectives are written as a single sentence that includes details like quantities, statistics, time specifics, and descriptive terms that can be measured. Objectives should always be written in terms of what will be done, not what will be avoided. Remember to make your objectives reasonable and attainable.
North High School students will increase their safety belt usage by 25% by 12/25/00
following our safety belt awareness campaign.
Use the Objective Worksheet to identify an objective for each of the goals you identified.
Time Lines and Action Plans break down your objectives into little steps and include a due date for each step. This helps you stay on track and prevents pulling “all nighters.”
Action Plan Example:
- Contact school administration to get permission to conduct safety belt checks.
- Schedule SADD members to work each of the 4 check stations.
- Create the “citations” to give students who are not buckled up at the check stations.
- Obtain prizes, incentives to give students who are buckled up
Use the Action Plans chart to identify several major steps to be accomplished for each objective.