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Skill Building With Community Works

August 2007 article

The Community Works program is designed to teach youth how to examine violence and law-related issues in the context of their schools and communities and to apply what they learn to real-life circumstances. Community Works instructors should begin their programs with the sessions included in Volume One. These 11 sessions lay the foundation for the program, allowing young people to see the "big picture" of their community. They learn about the different types of crime, the costs and consequences of crime, conflict management strategies, how crime affects communities, and what community prevention programs and services are available to them.

Community Works is a skill-building program and the sessions in Volume One should be taught in consecutive order. The sessions in Volume One build on each other, first introducing factual information, then giving young people the opportunity to practice critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. The sessions in Volume Two focus on serious youth-related topical issues such as bullying, dating violence, gangs, substance abuse, underage drinking, and police-youth relations.

Start With Session One: Creating A Community Vision

Although you may be tempted to jump right into the specific law-related content introduced in Session Two, Session One really sets the tone for your Community Works program. In this session, teens create a group vision for a safe community and learn what to expect from the Community Works program. Your students are also introduced to strategies for handling and resolving conflict and together develop guidelines and practice the skills needed to handle difficult situations assertively and communicate effectively. Expect to use two class periods to complete this session.

Remember to administer the Community Works pretest to assess your students' crime prevention knowledge and attitudes. Go to Community Works Session Enhancements to download the pretest and other tips.

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