Coastal Youth Media Evaluation Project

Leah Mayo (CHHS)

1. What was the inspiration behind this project? This project is a true to our motto of developing mutually beneficially relationships between community partners and the university.  Working Narratives believes “stories are a primary form by which we think, feel, and relate,” and that by changing the stories people tell, communities can change culture and policy. CYMP intends to use community-based media training to bring young people and media professionals together to tell the story of the diverse culture in our region. CYMP aims to tell stories and make media to “address pressing regional issues, connect communities, and transform lives.” With focus on leadership development, CYMP provides a platform for youth to share their stories and vision for a healthy community.

The Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) has a growing relationship with Working Narratives. Due to this partnership, the CHC was invited to attend a community luncheon for Working Narratives to introduce their newest initiative, CYMP. At this luncheon, the need for an evaluation plan was expressed by CYMP staff. As a result, the infrastructure and funding to support the development and implementation of the current project was discussed. Evaluation is a key element for program development, process improvement, and program sustainability.   The CYMP Director confirmed the need for support from UNCW due to Working Narrative’s limited capacity and lack of expertise within the area of evaluation. This project will provide a valuable set of tools to measure the impact of the program and identify areas for improvement. This information will be used by Working Narratives to continue to support and expand CYMP in New Hanover County and eventually across the region.

2. Can you describe the project? The overall goal of this project is to increase CYMP’s capacity to conduct evaluation. This goal will be accomplished through increasing staff knowledge regarding evaluation and the development of an evaluation infrastructure within Working Narratives and CYMP. The outcomes associated with this project are three-fold. More specifically, project activities will result in the creation of:

  •  a process evaluation plan for the CYMP, which will include:
    • articulating program theory (i.e., description of how the program is supposed to operate)
    • developing a logic model
    • identifying measures that will allow us to assess whether CYMP is operating as intended and serving the intended target population

  • an outcome evaluation plan for the CYMP, which will include:
    • specific measures that will allow us to determine whether change occurred among CYMP participants within various domains (e.g., knowledge, motivation, self-advocacy, self-efficacy, etc.)

  • a data collection protocol needed for on-going program monitoring and evaluation activities, which will include:
    • develop data collection instruments (hard copy and electronic formats)
    • develop an electronic database (e.g., Microsoft Excel or Access) to which evaluation data can be entered

CYMP is in its infancy and hoping to recruit its first cohort of students within the first half of 2019. CYMP staff recognize the importance of evaluation in garnering support for the program and “getting it right from the start.” To this end, CYMP staff expressed an interest in working with UNCW and this project has been driven and shaped by the specific needs of CYMP.

3. What is the purpose? The purpose is to develop an evaluation plan for CYMP that can be implemented by Working Narrative & CYMP beyond the scope of this project.

4. Who all was involved? Working Narrative, Costal Youth Media Project, School of Social Work, Sociology & Criminology Department, and Center for Healthy Communities.

5. Why is it important? This is important because we are addressing a gap that CYMP does not have the expertise or capacity to fill.   Additionally, since CYMP is in it’s development stages we will be able to build an evaluation in conjunction with the development of the program.

6. How will the project benefit CHHS? This project will also benefit UNCW in three ways: 1) provide faculty and students with an opportunity to engage with a community partner on a need identified by the agency; 2) provide students with a meaningful learning experience, reflecting UNCW’s commitment to applied learning and community engagement; and 3) develop an interdisciplinary community-university partnership with both CYMP and Working Narratives that will result in future opportunities for collaboration. Additionally, CYMP and Working Narratives have agreed to provide at least one lecture on campus to illustrate the benefit of community-university partnerships and collaboration, and the value of designing an evaluation in conjunction with program design.  

7. What is the timeline for the project? January – June 2019, but we hope to pursue additional funding to continue beyond this timeframe.

8. What is the desired outcome? Refer to question 1.