In 2009, ICADV’s Prevention Program was formed, with seed funding from the CDC Foundation, and tasked with building the organizational capacities to support primary prevention strategies at the community and society levels of the social ecology. Though our staff had experience with individual-level prevention education, we had yet to understand the why and how of higher-level efforts. Luckily, we got to explore this space in collaboration with our prevention community in Indiana, national experts, and colleagues in other state coalitions.
Learning about higher level prevention strategies and the public health approach gave us lots of opportunities to exercise new professional muscles (and there were definitely days when we had that two days after a new workout-type of a feeling where you’re not entirely sure that you want to get out of bed). We encountered so many new concepts and abstract ideas that seemed to land in a slippery place in our brains. We’d get a tenuous grasp on a new strategy, but that understanding often felt fragile to defaulting back to our practiced status quo if we didn’t find ways to discuss and practice our learnings.
We developed games and discussion activities to help us and our partners explore, practice and work towards institutionalizing public health strategies in our prevention programs (if you haven’t already got one, you can check out our prevention toybox here.)
For us, centering our prevention practice at the higher levels of the social ecology required the development of new knowledge and skills, but also faith and investment in longer-term outcomes. We knew that we could use individual-level education strategy to quickly change participants’ knowledge, but we learned that behavior change was unlikely where environments didn’t support the active use of this knowledge.
Thinking about how change happens — for communities and individuals — created space for us to think about the nature of violence and the context of our work. Pulling at the deeper roots of the problem helped us to see all of the connections — between other forms of oppression and violence, but also of our opportunities to exponentially increase our impact by partnering up and doubling down to create safe, equitable and supportive communities.
This Prevention Storybook represents our team’s attempt to wrap our arms around our learnings from the past ten years. We went with the coloring book format to invite readers to bring their whole, creative selves to this content. And, the positive, productive work of prevention is so joyful that we just wanted folks to have the opportunity to play with it. We hope that you, the reader, will help us bedazzle the content, and simultaneously deliberate the message.
With these pages, we share our most cherished prevention thoughts. We encourage you to read, color, converse and reach out to help us improve and take our next steps toward making safe and respectful relationships the expected and supported choice for all of us.
– The ICADV P-team
Download your copy of the storybook here