The Reducing the Risks (RTR) Coalition

Establishing short- and long-term goals requires strategic planning. Program directors and management teams can use this resource when establishing or revising the program's vision, mission and objectives in an effort to accomplish program goals.

The Reducing the Risks (RTR) Coalition discussed below is a community initiative to prevent teen pregnancy.

The Vision of RTR

The RTR Coalition came together because several members of our community were tired of seeing teens having children before they were ready. The kids (both teen parents and their children) suffered from early, unwanted pregnancies. Our community also had a very high rate of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) among teens. Teen moms weren't getting proper prenatal care for themselves or their children. Worst of all, however, a lot of teen parents seemed to have given up hope - they believed that there wasn't much they could do to change their future.

We wanted our vision to include the voices of all members of our community, including parents and teens. We met together and worked out the following vision statements to capture our dream:

"Healthy adolescents"
"Healthy babies"
"Caring parents"
"A community of hope"
"Safe sex"
"Teen power"
"Caring relationships"

The Mission of RTR

Having determined a clear vision for our group, the next step was our mission statement: what we were going to do and why. We had read our guides on strategic planning - we knew that a mission statement, like the vision, should still be fairly broad to help attract people to a common purpose. So at the same meeting we talked about our vision, we also threw out ideas for a mission statement. We came up with this:

"Our mission is to decrease adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in Dade County through a community-wide effort that will provide education and support to young people and their families."

Our Objectives at RTR

At our next meeting, we decided to get even more specific about what we would accomplish. We set measurable and timed objectives. We were trying to come up with things that were challenging, but also realistic. We ended up with this official looking list of objectives (it's great to show grantmakers!)

In order to accomplish our mission, RTR has the following objectives which, taken together, will help us to reach our goal:

  • By the year 2004, the reported level of sexual abstinence and postponement of initial sexual intercourse among 12-17 year olds in Dade County will be increased by 20%.
  • By the year 2004, the reported use of contraceptives among sexually active adolescents 12-17 years old in Dade County will be increased by 33%.
  • By the year 2006, the estimated rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) among 12-17 year olds in Dade County will be reduced by 40%
  • By the year 2008, the estimated pregnancy rate among 12-17 year olds in Dade County will be reduced by 25%.

Our Strategies at RTR

Of course, the next question (for ourselves and our funders) was, "Your objectives look great - so how are you going to reach them?" So it was back to the meeting room to brainstorm possible strategies. We came up with these strategies (intervention components) and more specific elements:

We will pursue the following strategies to reach the objectives:

1. Provide information and enhance skills

  • Involve area teachers in graduate-level sex education
  • Assist local churches to implement parent-child awareness sessions (for example, a series of talks might be given discussing how to talk to your preteen about sex)

2. Enhance services and support

  • Extend supervised after-school activities in the schools and youth organizations

3. Modify access, barriers, and opportunities

  • Establish a school-centered clinic at the middle schools and high schools to increase access to contraceptives for teens that choose to be sexually active

4. Change the consequences of efforts

  • Provide incentives, such as public recognition ceremonies, for adults and youth who contribute to efforts to reduce teen pregnancy

5. Modify policies

  • Include comprehensive sex education in the curriculum of kindergarten through grade 12, including information on abstinence, sexual decision making skills, and family planning and contraception at age-appropriate times

A sample of the RTR Action Plan

We at RTR know that we can't solve a problem like teen pregnancy alone. We believe that involving all of the different parts (also called sectors) of Dade County is the best way to reduce the risks of teen pregnancy. We envision our coalition as a focal point where all of the sectors in the community - schools, religious organizations, health organizations, for example - can come together to create something larger.

Action committees for each of these sectors - for example, a schools action committee, a business action committee - met together to create lists of proposed changes in the community - new programs, policies, and practices to reduce risk. For each change, we completed a sheet of "action steps". However, we didn't stop there with our action plan. Knowing how often we forget things, put them off, or don't get all the support we need at any given time, we put together a form, which we handed out at meetings to see how committees were doing. This data sheet served three purposes: it let us know how action groups were doing, we got an (early) chance to help if it was needed, and it served as a gentle reminder for coalition members to follow up on what they had agreed to do.

Here's a sample from the action plan:

Action Step

(what will be done)

Person(s) Responsible

(by whom)

Date Completed

(by when)

Resources Required

(at what costs)

Collaborators

(who else should know about this)

Design survey to measure student knowledge, attitudes, and behavior related to sexual issues

Dr. Jacobsen

By December 15, 2006

Assistance with research (1 to 2 volunteers @ 8-10 hrs. each),

Photocopying (approx. $15 for drafts of survey)

Board of directors

Meet with school district officials to discuss when and how survey will be administered

Tamika Bennett

By January 30, 2007

None

Board of directors

Administer survey

Tamika Bennett

By March 1, 2008

Photocopying (approx. $75 for entire survey), assistance with administering survey (5 to 10 volunteers @ 1 hr. each); 1 - 2 hrs. school time

Survey committee (Joe Davis, Huong Ly, Lisa Polchak, Marc Wilkerson)

Obtaining Feedback

Finally, after our action plan was outlined, we used a survey of members of the community at large to make sure that we were doing what was important and feasible .

An Example of VMOSA. The Reducing the Risks (RTR) Coalition. Nagy, Jenette and Fawcett, Stephen B. Community Tool Box. University of Kansas. n.d. English.

Last Reviewed: October 2012

Last Updated: August 10, 2015