Healthy Teen Network

Uncovering the Story of Community Engagement through Learning Walks

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Youth theater group at Indigenous Peoples Task Force

The Native Youth Project (NYP), funded by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was implemented in seven Native American communities, namely, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Indigenous Peoples Task Force, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, The Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, Wind River Tribal Youth of Northern Arapaho Tribe, First Nations Community HealthSource, and Center for Prevention & Wellness, Salish Kootenai College, to select, adapt, and implement evidence-based programs. Upon its completion in August 2013, it was evident that the NYP was successful and accomplished its objectives. However, the quantitative project results were not suitable for telling the story of the process grantees engaged in to make NYP a reality in their communities.

To uncover the invisible work behind the measurable deliverables, the CDC and project partner, National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), contracted with Healthy Teen Network to conduct Learning Walks. Learning Walks provide the opportunity to learn about the process of engaging stakeholders, the unique geographical context that shaped the implementation of the project, and the social impact NYP had in the community.

Conducting a Learning Walk is a popular strategy used in the education field: an external observer visits a community to document lessons learned, provide input to guide decision making for future project funding, and gain understanding of the impact that a particular project might have had in a community.

Healthy Teen Network staff, Mila Garrido Fishbein, Valerie Sedivy, and Genevieve Martínez García, recently conducted a series of Learning Walks with some of the NYP grantees. The intent is to shed some light on the less tangible, but still powerful outcomes of the NYP—the community engagement and social impact. Following the site visits, Healthy Teen Network developed reports to highlight the successes and stories learned from the Learning Walks.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Healthy Teen Network can support your agency to conduct qualitative evaluation, such as Learning Walks, contact Mila Garrido Fishbein or complete a service request form today.

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