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by Bass Zanjani

Training and technical assistance (TTA) provide practical resources for the 39 youth violence prevention grantee sites. They can help you find operational efficiencies. They can help you develop or expand policy frameworks, on topics as wide ranging as financing and gun violence. They increase your capacity to decrease youth violence.

For more than a year, Development Services Group, Inc. (DSG), has been the TTA provider for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) three youth violence prevention initiatives: the National Forum, Community-Based Violence Prevention (CBVP), and the Defending Childhood initiative. During this time, we have provided many of you with a wide range of informational and policy-related technical assistance (TA), in addition to peer-to-peer and onsite TA.

Throughout this process, the DSG team has become better acquainted with your work, your successes and challenges, your personnel changes, and your new initiatives. Relationships with some of you have blossomed, and the older relationships have deepened. The exchange of information and ideas excites us continually.

We want to keep the momentum going.

A network doesn’t become a network overnight. As our regular conference calls, the evolution of our monthly newsletter, and last year’s National Summit and Fall Convening attest, the process is well under way. Now it’s time for the youth violence prevention network to grow even further.

Starting in July 2016 we are modifying our TA structure so we can interact with you more frequently. Our new TA structure will also provide more opportunities for site directors to interact with one another directly.

The net effect of our new approach will be increased opportunities for cross-site and cross-initiative learnings, collaborations, and onsite or regional trainings. To achieve this, our new TA structure consists of three broad, but significant, reforms.

1. Quarterly Youth Violence Prevention Site Directors’ Calls
At the beginning of each quarter, site directors across all three initiatives will have a discussion covering the TTA topic for the coming 3 months (which is a change from the every-other-month format that has been in effect since October 2015), serving as a platform to launch subsequent TTA activities. This 90-minute call will cover updates from OJJDP, the topic theme of the quarter and a related presentation, updates on communities of practice, sustainability discussions, and initiative report-outs (theme related or otherwise). Selected sites from each initiative will conduct the initiative report-outs; we’ll hear from two CBVP sites, two Forum sites, and one Defending Childhood site.

In addition to this quarterly call, the TTA topic of the quarter will resound across a host of modalities, including Webinars, podcasts, resource guides (if applicable), and our new online news publication (discussed further below).

2. ‘Cluster’ Cohort Calls Every Other Month
In partnership with OJJDP, DSG will host cohort call every other month with increased emphasis on technical assistance, on operational topics and issues, and on overall grant management. Each cohort will include three to five grantee sites across the initiatives. Each call with have a TA cohort lead as well as the OJJDP program manager who is assigned to the cities in that cohort. We are designing the calls to maximize opportunities for peer-to-peer learning. OJJDP will provide updates during these calls, and we will deliver a real-time response to any existing or emerging TA needs.

These site-specific program management calls will cover issues related to operations, grants, and TTA with a topical theme content discussion that addresses challenges across the group. These calls will also address the importance of achieving program sustainability.

3. Integrating Our Communications Platform Through a Revised Newsletter
In an effort to match the unified TA platform, DSG has revised its newsletter. This, the 38th issue we have published since January 2013, will be the final monthly issue we give you.

After skipping June, we will in early July launch an online quarterly news publication that will feature an interactive layout with pages dedicated to each initiative, to communities of practice, and a robust multimedia/social media page. Each quarter there will be as many as three stories under each initiative, as many as three more related to communities of practice, and up to three more that cut across the initiatives.

The new quarterly newsletter, Youth Violence Prevention News, will go live the second week of July. We will send a subsequent email providing the URL once the site is live.

We are excited about this new platform. We feel it provides a vehicle to increase the visibility of the work in your communities, as well as a resource to enhance the work you undertake.

The online newsletter will provide more than triple the amount of information the monthly newsletter has provided, and will include updates broth from OJJDP and from DSG and partners. In addition, the Web page will include the TTA schedule for the full calendar year, to further facilitate shared communication with all sites. The multimedia page will include related videos varying from OJJDP announcements to various presentations recorded at past National Convenings, as well as podcasts and social media.

Youth Violence Prevention News will also include two distinguishing features.

The first is a Google news feed that pulls articles on youth violence prevention daily from around the United States and the rest of the globe. This feature will allow you to broaden your perspective on this critical issue that affects every population worldwide.

The second feature is a social media corner that we hope will achieve three communications objectives. First, it will allow for increased cross-site connection in real time. Second, it will broaden the conversation of the work taking place in the community by allowing others to join in, contribute to, and share your work. Finally, it will provide a platform that promotes the work beyond the existing youth violence prevention network.

We are always reassessing our efforts to provide you with the best possible TA and tools to create efficiencies in your work. These new changes, we feel, will strengthen the existing TA provider–recipient relationship, leading to a more streamlined TA request process, a greater provision of targeted TA, and increased peer learning opportunities—all in support of building capacity to prevent youth violence in our communities

Contact Us
Send questions or feedback about the newsletter to Bass Zanjani, Project Director, OJJDP’s Youth Violence Prevention Technical Assistance Program, at or Bass Zanjani, project director, at 301–951–0056. If you haven’t already, subscribe.

Looking for a particular article? You can read past issues of the newsletter here.
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The National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Newsletter is prepared under Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Cooperative Agreement No. 2014–MU–MU–K021 with Development Services Group, Inc. The views, opinions, and content of this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of OJJDP.