Banner: Violence Prevention in partnership with the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention

Other Youth Topics

Strategic Planning Toolkit: Step 1.1

Initiate a Call to Action

A call to action initiates the plan development process. It typically begins with the mayor inviting to a meeting stakeholders whose endorsement and support are essential for developing a comprehensive plan—for example, the chief of police, school superintendent, and directors of other agencies and organizations whose missions include preventing youth violence. Additional calls to action are extended to the broader community, but initial buy-in from these key decision makers is critical for moving the planning process forward and implementing the strategies developed.

These leaders will be asked to come prepared to review the types of information, staff skills and participation, and other resources they can contribute to a comprehensive planning effort to prevent youth violence. In addition to providing clarity on the Forum planning approach, the agenda includes gaining commitments to proceed with first steps, such as forming a steering committee to develop the plan, identifying other community leaders who should be involved in the effort, and convening listening sessions to encourage community members to contribute information.

Planning toolPlanning Tool: Forum Leader Commitment Form.
This form can be adapted to document key leaders’ commitment to the planning effort.


Listening Sessions
Forum cities have convened listening sessions to gather information about the nature of youth violence locally and the impact it is having on youth and communities. Listening sessions are public forums that involve stakeholders who do not traditionally participate in city strategic planning sessions. These sessions may be one of the city’s first outreach efforts after key partners respond to the call to action, with additional sessions scheduled to continue engaging community members in strategy development. The information from these sessions is invaluable for accurately interpreting data on youth violence, and for identifying additional community assets and resources.

Listening sessions involve concerned citizens, youth and families, faith-based organizations, businesses and philanthropic organizations, and others who know or work with high-risk youth, or whose neighborhoods are affected by youth violence.

Participants are encouraged to discuss youth violence, envision desired outcomes, and identify local resources and opportunities. These sessions also pave the way for the further involvement of community members and leaders in planning and decision making, advocacy for systems and policy changes, and engagement in other meaningful ways.

Planning toolPlanning Tool: Forum Listening Session Summary Form.
Use this interview guide to capture information and viewpoints from listening session participants.