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The
Community
Psychologist

Volume 44 Number 4 
Fall 2014

Practice Council

SCRA Community Mini Grants: A Progress Report

Report prepared by Kyrah K. Brown (ky.brown36@gmail.com) and Jasmine Douglas (jxdouglas@wichita.edu), SCRA Practice Council

Since 2011, the SCRA Community Mini Grants program (see Hakim, Landon & Becker-Klein, 2013 for historical overview) has funded 37 meaningful small-scale projects in multiple countries. Based on the success of the Mini Grants, the Executive Committee recently agreed to expand funding for the 2014 grant year. As a result, the total number of $1200 awards granted each year has increased from ten to fifteen. The impact of the SCRA Community Mini Grants has been significant; and the Practice Council is proud to be able to offer the Mini Grants on behalf of SCRA and its members. Each year, we make an effort to not only evaluate project success but also evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the Mini Grants from an administrative perspective. Thus, the purpose of this report is to provide an update on the Cycle 4 (2014) grant cycle and to share some of the recent quality improvement activities that have taken place.  We also revisit earlier recommendations to gauge our progress in strengthening the Mini Grants program.

2014 Mini Grant Award Funding Update

So far, a total of seven $1200 grants were awarded out of 19 applications received (see Appendix A for project descriptions). Funded projects have addressed a variety of topics focused on reducing child labor, the mental health needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, intersexed and queer (LGBTIQ) people, college students, African immigrants, racial justice, homelessness, and youth job development. The majority of funded projects were community-based interventions (N=4), followed by integrated interventions (N=2) and research oriented (N=1). Also, three students, three practitioners and one faculty member were awarded. Although the majority of projects were based in the United States, there were two international projects from Peru and Australia.

Quality Improvement Activities & Future Recommendations

In addition to providing an update summary for the grants awarded this year, it is also important to share our recent strides in quality improvement for the Mini Grants Program. In 2013, the Mini Grants leadership team decided that it would be especially important to evaluate the effectiveness of our internal processes (e.g., review process) and address any identified areas of improvement. In consequence, several steps have been taken to strengthen the Mini Grants program.

This year we addressed two (of five) recommendations proposed by Hakim et al. (2013). The first recommendation was to convene Mini Grant leadership and current reviewers to reexamine the goals and application processes. In February 2014, a Mini Grant teleconference was held to accomplish this goal. Some of the major decisions included (a) maintaining the current goals and criteria, (b) implementing an administrative pre-screening for inapplicable proposals to enhance reviewer efficiency, and (c) creating a system by which we could ensure that grant funding is available throughout the year and prevent the issue of running out of funding later in the grant year. The second recommendation was concerning outreach to community psychology practitioners. In Mini Grant Cycle 1 (2011-2012), the majority of grant applicants came from SCRA members (including students) who were academic settings (Johnson-Hakim et al., 2013). To date, our data (based on 30 projects funded from 2011 to 2013) indicate that a little over a third of our funded applicants are SCRA members who work in community settings. Although, there has been a small increase in the number of practitioners who apply for funding, there is still additional work to do to ensure a balance

Another major step for improvement has been the creation of a system for reviewer recruitment, training and communication. In response to the growing number of prospective reviewers, a set of requirements were created to ensure that the quality, integrity and accountability of the Mini Grants program was maintained. Also, a formal Mini Grant reviewer training guide was created and a Training webinar/teleconference was held to enhance reviewer knowledge of and comfort with the Mini Grant application and review process. Finally, reviewer check-in calls have been implemented to keep an open line of communication with reviewers and Mini Grant leadership.

Although, we have been making considerable progress in strengthening the Mini Grants program, there are additional next steps that will guide our future work:

  • At the midpoint of each project, reach out to grantees to provide any necessary support; connect grantees with SCRA members who can be resources to them (Hakim et al., 2013).
  • Provided guided support and material to help grantees explain the field of community psychology to their partners/recipients/communities (Hakim et al., 2013); one way we’ve thought about doing this is providing the value proposition as well as connecting applicants to material from the SCRA website.
  • Continue to connect grantees and community partners with the Practice Council and SCRA as a whole through formal opportunities to share their work (e.g., Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice) (Hakim et al., 2013).
  • Reach out to community psychology practitioners as well as practitioners from the global community; and continue to encourage international SCRA members to apply for funding.

Conclusion

Through the financial support of the Executive Committee and the administrative support of the Practice Council, the Community Mini Grants has helped SCRA members make meaningful change in their communities across the globe. There is, however, room for improvement and development as the Mini Grants moves forward. Some of those initial steps have involved institutionalizing changes related to the internal application and review process. It is also recognized that continued focus on external processes concerning outreach to new audiences and finding ways to facilitate sustainable relationships between SCRA and communities is needed.

Invitation to Apply

The call for applications is still open for the 2014 grant year and the Mini Grant team would like to encourage you to apply. The deadline for submission is Saturday, November 1, 2014. Please visit http://www.scra27.org/what-we-do/practice/community-mini-grants/ to submit an online pre-application.

Mini Grant Criteria

  • Addresses a time sensitive community need or opportunity
  • Has potential for successful implementation and meaningful impact within one-year grant period
  • Has significant community involvement and active community partners
  • Aligns with SCRA vision, mission, principles and goals

If you have additional questions about the SCRA Community Mini Grants please email scracommunitygrants@gmail.com.

References

Hakim, S., Landon, K., & Becker-Klein, R. (2013). SCRA Community Mini-Grants: Round One Summary and Evaluation. The Community Psychologist 46 (3), 5-9. Retrieved from http://scra27.org/files/6013/8557/5853/TCP_Summer_2013.pdf

Appendix A

SCRA Community Mini Grants – Funded Projects January 2014-July 2014

Grantee Info

Project Title

Project Summary

Location

Isidro M. Jariego

 

Faculty Member

 

Community-Based Intervention

Kick-off meeting: transfer and community fit of best practices for reduction of child labor from Barranquilla (Colombia) to Lima (Peru).

Educate Me First" is an intervention for reducing child labor, compound by educational and personal development activities. It is an evidence-based program that has shown to be effective in different countries, and was implemented in Colombia by a coalition of Colombian and American organizations. Now the continuity of the project depends on the collaboration between Universidad de Sevilla (Spain) and Universidad del Norte (Barranquilla, Colombia), mainly based in the participation of students, as well as informal and community resources. This course we plan to transfer the programa to Peru: the mini grant will serve to prepare the transference of the programa to this new context, summing up the experience of Colombia and adapting the activities to the new context in Peru.

Peru

David Belasic

 

Practitioner

 

Community-Based Intervention

LGBTIQ website for mental health consumers, careers and community

To create a website specifically targeting the mental health needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans*, intersexed and queer (LGBTIQ) people. The website will provide referrals to local services based in Melbourne, but also provide a hub for information, networking, activism and education that could be accessed by anyone, and relevant to people anywhere interested in LGBTIQ issues.

 

Australia

Rachel Suffrin

 

Student

 

Integrated Intervention

 

College Student Extra-Curricular Involvement in an Intensive Immersion Program: An Outcome Evaluation

This research is important because it provides insight into the impact over time of a type of intensive, social justice oriented type of extra-curricular involvement during college that has an immersion component (a one-week overnight camp). A comparison group of students who participate in other similar (cancer related) but less intensive (non-immersion) extra-curricular activities will be used (e.g., Relay for Life, Colleges Against Cancer). Findings hold promise to better understand the impact of social-justice immersion experiences on college students, and will also help Camp Kesem improve and develop programming to increase the positive impact they have on undergraduate student volunteers.

US

Michelle Stratton

 

Student

 

Community-Based Intervention

Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities: A Community Based response to Trauma, Promoting Resilience in African Immigrant and Refugee communities resettled in New Hampshire

Funding would support the implementation of a Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) training with the African immigrant community in New Hampshire. Developed in Rwanda, HROC is a grass roots approach to understanding and addressing the impact of trauma on individuals, families and communities. HROC engages participants in a process of exploring their own experience of trauma, attending to grief and loss, gaining tools for building trust and building capacity to support the ongoing journey of healing from complex and collective trauma. HROC accesses knowledge and resources from participants, nurturing resilience and culturally based understanding of healing and well-being.

 

US

Tom Wolff

 

Practitioner

 

Community-Based Intervention

The New England Racial Justice and Health Equity Collaborative

The New England Racial Justice and Health Equity Collaborative is an action and learning network across 12 communities in three states. All these communities are working on racial justice and health equity. They had a history of working together as part of the Boston Public Health Commission’s CDC funded Center for Excellence which supported New England communities New England to initiate health equity efforts. In 2012, after the funding ended the communities continue to meet quarterly to support and advance the difficult work of addressing health disparities by explicitly focusing on systemic racism.

US

Corinna West

 

Student

 

Integrated Intervention

Poetry for Personal Power Infrastructure Development

Poetry for Personal Power is a social inclusion campaign using Hip-Hop, spoken word poetry, and job development for young artists. We sponsor youth-led arts events to share that 1) everyone goes through adversity, 2) the best way through is to talk to people who have been there before, and 3) find what give your personal power. Our theme of overcoming adversity breaks through the fear of “mental health” discussions since everyone has struggled. Our message shows youth that all types of adversity have a simple but not easy path through to the other side.

 

US

Molly Brown

 

Practitioner

 

Research-Oriented

Evaluating New Haven's Roll Out of Coordinated Access to Housing for Individuals who are Homeless

The city of New Haven plans to administer the Vulnerability Index-Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT) to 500 individuals experiencing homelessness. This measure was developed to guide efficient allocation of housing resources according to one’s need. Although the VI-SPDAT’s use is widespread and it underwent extensive development, the psychometric properties require further study given its implications for policy. A target sample of 200 individuals receiving a housing intervention based on VI-SPDAT score will be administered a series of additional measures that will be used test the VI-SPDAT’s validity. Re-administration of measures and housing outcomes will be collected at 6-month follow-up. Three main goals are identified for the proposed research. First, the study will evaluate the validity of the VI-SPDAT to determine its utility for prioritizing housing to individuals who are homeless with varying housing support needs. Second, this study will examine the interaction of personal (e.g., self-efficacy, disability) and social (e.g., social support) factors with VI-SPDAT scores on housing outcomes at 6-month follow-up. Findings might suggest that prioritization of housing should be based on multiple dimensions, as opposed to vulnerability alone. Finally, 6-month housing outcomes will be tracked. Relationships between housing type, VI-SPDAT scores, and self-report measures will be assessed.

 

US



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