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CASE STUDY: Where's Daryl?
Program Planning & Evaluation / 2012-2015

  Project U

Gun violence is pervasive in Los Angeles County, and adversely affects our youth and society. Out of 50 US metropolitan areas from 2006-2007, Los Angeles had the third highest rate of firearm homicides among youth age 10-19, with 11.1 homicides per 100,000(1). This is over twice the national rate. From 2000-2009, the leading cause of death among Los Angeles County youth was firearm homicide (2). As with other public health issues, gun violence is unevenly distributed; rates of firearm death in 2010 were almost 8 times higher in South Los Angeles than in the county as a whole (2).

In 2012, Sentient Research partnered with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena to produce and evaluate Where’s Daryl?, an innovative anti-gun violence prevention education program for middle school youth. This program was initially conceptualized and developed by students in the Design Matters program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, with program curriculum further expanded by LAUSD and Sentient Research.

This program follows a fictional character named Daryl who misses out from the things he loves most (birthday parties, shooting hoops, and even his first love) because he becomes involved with guns and lands inside the juvenile justice system. The program uses innovative educational materials, including: four humorous short videos that depict Daryl as absent from his own life milestones; art supplies and affinity items to help students create and disseminate their own personalized Where’s Daryl? messaging among their peers; and a teachers toolkit with gun violence facts and participatory learning activities to encourage critical thinking about guns. The program focuses on prevention rather than incarceration and asks youth to reconsider their assumptions about guns and to discuss the negative impacts guns can have on their lives and goals.


Where's Daryl? Educational Anti-Gun Violence Program for Middle Schools

Sentient Research planned and implemented the evaluation of the program, which included creating survey instruments for students and teachers, analyzing program evaluation data, and producing a report with recommendations. The student evaluation was designed to assess the impact of Where’s Daryl? on outcomes such as negative attitudes toward guns and knowledge related to the dangers of guns in our society. Specifically, the attitude questions measured student perceptions of guns, people who carry guns, and gun safety. The knowledge questions measured statistics on guns and gun safety in the United States that were covered in the Where’s Daryl? lessons. A teacher survey was designed to measure the effectiveness of various elements of Where’s Daryl? from their perspective and to find ways to improve the program.

Sentient Research analyzed data from over 700 students in 4 LAUSD middle schools who took a baseline survey conducted before program began and a follow-up survey conducted at the end of the program. Overall, student knowledge increased significantly from baseline to follow-up, as did negative attitudes towards guns. Teachers were overwhelmingly positive about the program, and provided helpful suggestions which will be used to refine the program before the next implementation. Sentient Research is currently working with the LAUSD and the Art Center College of Design to launch an expanded version of Where’s Daryl? in 35 classrooms with 3,500 students. Our ultimate goal is to expand this program as an evidence-based gun violence prevention intervention that can be disseminated across California and the US for wide-scale impact.

Conference presentations related to this program:

Where's Daryl?: Results of a gun violence prevention-education program in Los Angeles Unified School District.
Kordic T, Plant A, Ruffino E, Amatullo M, Moon M, Lamb K. Poster presentation at: 142th American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting; November 15-19, 2014; New Orleans, Louisiana.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MMWR. 2011:60(18);573-578.
2. Los Angeles County Dept of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Program. Homicides and firearm deaths in Los Angeles County. February 2013.




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