Youth-led Community Assessment Project by TOGETHER!

Organization Name
Mission Statement

TOGETHER! prevents youth violence and substance abuse through awareness, advocacy and action to support youth and families.

City & State
Question 1
The Before: What was the challenge, issue or problem your organization was facing? Or, what was the opportunity you were not able to take advantage of before you put a technology solution in place?

Answer: A big part of our organization’s work is reduce youth access to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. One challenge we face that contributes to youth substance abuse is alcohol and tobacco ads that target youth, and retailers breaking the law to sell alcohol and tobacco to minors (in Thurston County, compliance checks showed that 1 out of 4 minors were able to purchase alcohol or tobacco illegally from a convenience or grocery store). Our youth staff and volunteers had testified at public hearings held by the state Liquor Control Board encouraging stricter laws on alcohol advertising outside of stores, and stricter laws were subsequently passed. However, our youth wanted to see how these laws played out in stores, and educate retailers to make sure they were following up. They also wished to help retailers decrease the amount of alcohol and tobacco products sold to minors – our youth help with county compliance checks, so this is one of their concerns, too.

Question 2
What Microsoft software have you used/are you using in your organization to more effectively engage your beneficiaries, donors and/or volunteers and/or to make a difference in your community?

Answer: Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 (Includes any of the following: Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, OneNote, Outlook, and Word)

Question 3
The After: How have these Microsoft products allowed you to engage your stakeholders more efficiently or effectively to make a difference in your community?

Answer: These materials have contributed significantly to efforts to reduce youth access to alcohol and tobacco products as well as helped to educate retailers and sales clerks throughout the county. The information was popular and well-received, and youth staff members are now working on a new version of the poster using Publisher, which will include updated information on acceptable forms of identification, , such as enhanced driver’s licenses, to further educate the clerks and keep stores up-to-date on other such changes.

Question 4
What about these products (the features or the way you used them) made them particularly helpful in enabling your organization to expand and improve upon its community impact?

Answer: Youth staff & volunteers surveyed alcohol & tobacco ads and product placement in 69 county convenience stores. They tracked the observances in Excel, then used formulas to analyze the data and create charts. They drafted a final report in Word, which was sent to participants. For the issue of sales to minors, the youth created a poster in Publisher to teach cashiers how to properly check ID and show the consequences of selling to minors. The way Office products work together helped us greatly, as did Excel formulas. These streamlined the workload & gave professional results. Without the interconnectivity of Office products & the design flexibility of Publisher, our reports may not have been as effective at changing behavior. Data merging was crucial to the effectiveness of the report.

Question 5
Please provide any examples, stories or data that illustrate the difference the use of Microsoft software has enabled you to make (i.e., # of new clients reached, new program added, increased dollars raised, increased volunteers, etc.

Answer: We surveyed 69 stores (out of 200 in the county) and gave each the poster and final report. The educational poster was later distributed to 100 more stores as a part of tobacco retailer compliance checks conducted by our agency. About 20 youth and adults volunteered for the project and were able to gather a lot of data in a short time, allowing for more time for staff to spend on the analysis, processing and dissemination of data using Microsoft products. Our education of retailers about the new advertising rules also resulted in stores taking down extra ads they had up, so they would be in compliance with the law.

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