motorcyclist rounding corner on a country road at night
Traffic Safety Digest
Telling Your Story - A Communication Skills Workshop for
Traffic Safety Professionals

Innovative Training Effort
Outstanding Community
    Sustainability Tool
Safe Communities
49 communities representing the six New England States
Safe Communities Coordinators
State Highway Safety Staff
Community Outreach Workers
Public Health Professionals
(community population ranges)


There are approximately 300,000 motor related injuries on New England’s roadways every year. Safe Communities (SC) programs have emerged at the grassroots level in response to enhanced public awareness of traffic safety issues. In 1997, the Education Development Center (EDC), in conjunction with the NHTSA Region 1 injury control contractor conducted an assessment of SC programs. In 1998-1999, EDC followed up this assessment with a technical assistance and mini grant effort targeting emerging programs with limited resources. In 2000, an introductory SC training was developed that focused on low cost alternatives to implementing SC processes. As a result of these three initiatives, EDC concluded the following regarding the status of such programs in the New England States:

  • Many programs functioned with limited resources

  • Programs lacked visibility and credibility in the community despite ongoing activity

  • Marketing capabilities to promote the program to policymakers and funding sources were limited

EDC concluded that by enhancing the capacity of smaller emerging SC programs to market their activities, their opportunities for funding and self-sufficiency would increase. In short, programs needed to do a better job of “Telling Their Story”. Most of the Safe Communities programs in the Region had not been able to evaluate results or report on the intermediate impact of their program activity. There was clearly a need to make Safe Communities programs more visible to partners and customers.


The goals of this project are to:

  • Increase the importance of marketing skills to Safe Communities Coordinators as a tool to attract partners, funding sources, and coalition volunteers

  • Enhance capabilities to deliver public presentations, participate in media events, and apply for grants among a majority of SC programs in the Region

  • Expand the number of self sufficient and credible SC programs in the Region

  • Expand the ability of community-based programs to implement priority activity in alcohol and occupant protection


A series of “Telling Your Story” workshops was planned. The first workshop conducted in April 2001, showcased best practices in program marketing and assisted SC coordinators with helping to define the program’s mission, goals, and strategies. Workshop evaluations made it clear that participants desired more in-depth and hands-on training in the specific skills areas of grant writing, public speaking, and media relations. A second workshop marketed as “Telling Your Story II”, conducted six months later, was designed to accommodate these needs. The workshop consisted of hands-on skill sessions taught by experienced professionals and focused on grant writing, media relations, and public speaking.

Each participant received an information packet which consisted of copies of all presentations, groups exercises, Web site locations in New England and around the nation of funding sources, and lists of community organizations to be targeted for outreach.


Workshop attendees rated the training as very positive and desired to have ongoing, yearly training and seminars in these areas. The workshop has been summarized in a newsletter to be shared with traffic safety advocates nationwide via the NHTSA Safe Communities Service Center Web site ( Copies of workshop packets are also available upon request from Chris Miara ( Future plans include:

  • Providing ongoing technical assistance and advice to Safe Communities in New England in the development of mission statements, brochure publication, media relations, public presentations, and grant applications.

  • Refining presentation material, preparing instructor guidelines, and developing train the trainer workshops to develop State level capabilities to deliver this training.

  • Developing assessment tools to monitor SC coordinator skills and confidence as well as program marketing success and sustainability.


Section 403: $25,000
Chris Miara
Education Development Center
55 Chapel St.
Newton, MA 02458
(617) 618-2238

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

   FALL 2001      

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