I have been working with key prevention leaders in the Boston area for over ten years on issues including youth alcohol and substance abuse, and, most recently, child maltreatment prevention. My friend and colleague Stephanie Patton just reached out to me with an interesting update. She and the team at OASIS (Organizing Against Substances in Stoughton) have been turning up the volume of their work, expanding from a limited social norms campaign focused on teens in schools to a true Positive Community Norms intervention that engages groups across the social ecology, including teachers, parents, business leaders, law enforcement, and government officials. In the process of building their PCN efforts, OASIS’ coalition leaders have developed into true civic leaders, who now help build support for healthy community initiatives and steer difficult public conversations using the Science of the Positive.
Stephanie writes, “I wanted to drop you a note to let you know about an unanticipated outcome of our work together. Stoughton's local government has decided to use clickers for electronic voting due to our collaborative work.” For those of you who don’t know, clickers are great tool for exposing misperceptions and learning how they work – I use them often in my trainings. But back to Stephanie: “Because we have become the local clicker "experts" we are building some important new relationships in town hall and with town meeting reps. What is really cool is that in some of the planning meetings people are talking about peer influence on voting and how misperceptions can arise from standing or hand-raising votes. This is an exciting example of how Positive Community Norms is really having an impact on how our community thinks.”
Bravo, OASIS! I’m looking forward to hearing more about their success when I see Stephanie and her team in July for the Montana Summer Institute.