September is National Recovery Month

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  I have not always worked in evaluation. I have not always focused much of my work on substance abuse prevention. I started out like a lot of young psychology majors; I wanted to be a clinical psychologist so I could ‘help people.’ How I ended up working in the community is a story for another day but to make a long story short, I got burnt out. Two things happened that made me change directions. First, while working as a recovery therapist on an adolescent unit, a fifteen-year-old with an addiction to huffing (paint), died from an overdose 24 hours after her discharge. She was not the only child I knew who died, just the last. The second thing that happened was that I had to fly a fourteen year old mother back to her home state and commit her to the state hospital. Our … [Read more...]

Managing Polarities

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This blog has been rumbling around in my brain for some time now, but a few things have happened lately, prompting me to set deliverables aside momentarily. Unless you live under a rock, you cannot help but notice that the political world in which we live has become extremely polarized. A true understatement if ever there was one, right? Each party is scrambling as far as they can into their respective corner. The current presidential candidates reflect this fact. At the 2015 American Evaluation Association (AEA) in Chicago, I heard Sarah Stachowiak of ORS Impact and Julia Coffman and Tanya Beer from the Center for Evaluation Innovation present a session entitled, Developmental Evaluation Tools for Emergent Strategies. They shared an example of a developmental evaluation from the … [Read more...]

Which way do we go?

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By now my fellow American Evaluation Associate (AEA) members are busy writing their proposals for AEA 2016 scheduled to take place here in Atlanta in late October. Now for those of you who have never visited our fair city, be forewarned – all streets in Atlanta are named Peachtree Street. Just kidding! But there are a LOT of streets with Peachtree in the name. For example, there is Peachtree Street (the main drag) as well as West Peachtree, Peachtree Battle, Peachtree-Dunwoody, Peachtree Road…..Get the idea? If Wikipedia can be trusted, there are in fact 71 roads with Peachtree in the name. If you want a history about all that read on…… Why all this talk about roads? I suppose because deciding which way to go is on my mind these days. Two weeks ago, CES had their first … [Read more...]

Students, want to build your network?

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Emily Ayers Guest Blog

When asked to think about major public health issues in developing nations, hunger and starvation may be some of the first things that come to many peoples’ minds. However, hunger isn’t always, or necessarily, the main issue. According to Dr. Geoffery Anguyo, a medical doctor and director of KIHEFO, a healthcare organization in Uganda, malnutrition (in particular, protein deficiency) is a large public health problem in his country. In rural parts of developing countries like Uganda, many families make their living through subsistence farming. Their land may be limited; and they may share with many other family members. Popular crops in Uganda include cabbage, cassava, bananas, plantains, pineapples, sweet potatoes, millet, sorghum, beans and groundnuts. Aside from beans, there is one … [Read more...]

We do this to ourselves

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I’m so busy! When you ask someone how are they doing, how often do they respond with- “I am so busy?” I bet you get that answer 9 out of 10 times. Now let me ask you, how many times do you offer that same reply when someone asks you that same question? Lately, I have been too swamped to write this very blog even though it has been rattling around in my head for many months now. I am also behind in writing our company newsletter because I am trying my best to keep up with our tremendous growth. I am not complaining. As Sister Susan Arcaro once quipped to me, “We do this to ourselves.” Sister Susan is my longtime spiritual director. I started seeing her over 10 years ago during my brief stint at the Archdiocese of Atlanta as head of the Office of Child and Youth … [Read more...]

Using Social Media to Grow your Consulting Practice

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Using Social Media to Grow your Consulting Practice By: Joshua Price I have been the Social Media Manager for Community Evaluation Solutions since December 2013. In less than two years, I have had the opportunity to watch the CES social media platform grow from less than 5 Twitter followers to over 200, and from 20 Facebook followers to 172. As a Social Media Manager, I bring expertise in how to most effectively use social media and experience using social media managing tools. I collaborated closely with Ann to develop CES’s social media strategy, which included determining which social media outlets were most beneficial to CES’s mission. In bringing the social media strategy to life, I use my expertise and experience to find material that is of interest to the company’s … [Read more...]

Program Development + Evaluation = Intervention?

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Evaluation as Intervention?   A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria (or both) living among filaments of a fungus in a mutually beneficial relationship (symbiotic relationship). The combined life form has properties that are very different from the properties of its component organisms. I really don’t know why this picture speaks to me. Maybe it speaks to me because it implies change. I don’t know about you, but I see program development and program evaluation as “mutually beneficial” and hopefully both work together to produce change for the good. Recently, an evaluator and blogger, Charles Gasper, stole my thunder with his blog, The Evaluation Evangelist: Evaluation as an Intervention. Why? Because, for the last year, I have been … [Read more...]

Does monitoring alone lead to change?

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This past Christmas my husband got me a Fitbit. He wasn’t being rude; I asked for it. Now I am smart enough to know that just wearing the darn thing alone was not going to automatically lead to lost pounds. No more than just attending my Weight Watchers meetings each week leads to losing weight. And as I predicted, in the last few months I have not wilted to my high school weight. So what’s the deal? Whatever happened to, “What gets measured gets done?” You often hear people say that you have to measure the right things. I think it’s more accurate to say that you have to measure the right set of things. I can walk 10,000 steps every day, but I if eat lots of things that are high in calories I will be no better off. Similarly, if we only track things that happen at point … [Read more...]

Re)Invigorating community coalition evaluation efforts

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My name is Ann Price and I am the President of Community Evaluation Solutions, Inc.(CES), a consulting firm based just outside Atlanta, Georgia. I am a community psychologist and work to infuse environmental approaches into my work developing and evaluating community prevention programs. Much of my work involves working with community coalitions. Hot Tip:  Appreciate how long it takes for community coalitions to mature. Often, community members want to jump in and get right to work. However, the first thing community coalitions need to do is develop structures and processes that will help ensure their long-term success. It may be helpful for you to work with your coalition to develop a logic model that details what steps the coalition needs to take in order to be successful. Here is … [Read more...]