By: Hugh Anthony Wallace, Preventionist
Since COVID-19, most of us have been forced to wear many different hats in our chosen fields of work. For some that has been rather simple, but for others it has been a nightmare that has them being dragged kicking and screaming into the new millennium of technology. Fortunately, I have been in a position where I have worked with both prevention and technology. So I find it a little more comfortable to maneuver between both worlds.
However, as fall approaches, COVID-19 presents us with the real challenge of providing information face-to-face, in real time as we did before in schools, communities or professional settings. Being a person that looks at life in a "let's get another glass" mode rather than debating whether the glass is either half full or half empty, I think moving forward this journey will prove very productive in many different ways. Allow me to explain.
Many of the youth that we already work with are already familiar with using these different kinds of platforms and technology to communicate and share information with each other on a regular basis. If anything, the prevention field has been far behind others as far as technology is concerned. We have come quite a long way — from creating social media platforms to understanding use of hashtags and geo tagging in our events. In addition, it is important to stay current and recognize the audience reach we have and how seamlessly we can provide information in various formats on social platforms.
Providing programs virtually will be an integral function of prevention, at least for the foreseeable future. This will range from conferencing, webinars, and certification classes, to school presentations and professional development sessions. Switching gears isn't as pain staking as one would think, as most these platforms allow users you to take previously created content (with the permission of the owner of course ) and easily upload it for dissemination i.e. Goggle Docs, Adobe Spark, Google Classroom and Pages for all the Mac users out there. As for continuing to serve our communities, we now have the ability to host multiple events whether live or prerecorded that no longer are limited to a specific capacity, time, location availability or date.
As a preventionist, this is where for me it's "grab another glass!" I now have the ability to be in more than one place for the first time in my career! This, in my opinion, helps me be more impactful at what I do — which is why I got into this line of work to begin with — to make a real difference. I urge you to embrace this new use of technology and see how much of an impact it can have in your daily work. In addition, technology will effectively allow us to interact with our communities by continuing to provide prevention education, resources and valuable information.
Until next time, may your cup runneth over.