In 2017, a CPS Community Resource Officer approached YouthLink about an identified gap in existing community services. An assessment of an 88 unit housing complex was carried out by members of CPS and directors of Calgary Housing Company (who assists low income or government assisted persons and their families). During the process of gathering information, a concern was revealed as youth of this community were having issues making positive decisions and identifying healthy relationships.
Through a number of discussions between YouthLink, CPS and Calgary-wide social agencies, it became apparent that this concern is present across Calgary’s vulnerable populations (identified by calls for service and information collected by agencies).
In 2018, YouthLink (with the support of the officer who addressed the concern) responded by developing a new inter-agency program that is accessible to CPS officers and social agencies working with youth of vulnerable populations.
YouthLink’s Community of Prevention (YCOP) program combines the efforts and interests of YouthLink (prevention), CPS (building trust in police and developing a direct line of communication) and local social agencies (on-going support). This evening program provides an opportunity for CPS officers and Calgary-wide social agencies to empower the youth in their communities. YCOP includes two Safe for Life Presentations (Healthy Relationships and the selection from Drugs, Gangs or Online Safety, depending on the current challenges affecting the community). Officers attending the program answer questions, contribute insight on police goals and provide a positive engagement opportunity.
Youth aged 11-17 of vulnerable populations.
- Youth supported by a Calgary social agency (who have a youth crime prevention goal).
- Youth identified by CPS officers in support of crime prevention and education initiatives (CPS Crime Management Strategies).
Main Goals of Program
- Work in collaboration with CPS Crime Management Strategies for the common goal of increasing community safety and reducing crime.
- Build positive police-community relations with participants.
- Encourage participants to engage in community and home-based conversations and actions that promote good citizenship and help increase the positive perspective on police within their community.
- Develop positive decision-making skills to avoid criminal behaviour and victimization.
- Acquire an understanding of the important roles of police and citizens pay in community safety.
- Develop an appreciation for self-reflection, taking responsibility and getting help.
- Increase perception of a deserving future and self-worth.
- Introduce effective behavioral skills for reducing anxiety, impulse behaviour and aggression.
- Increase knowledge of and reduce negative stigma of substance abuse and addiction.
- Increase accessing resources for support.
- Click here for full program details and participation.
Delivered by YouthLink Educators and Supported by CPS Officers
YCOP is delivered by YouthLink Educators who have a special interest in working with youth of vulnerable populations. This program is supported by CPS officers to provide an opportunity to build trust within a community that they regularly engage with. Increasing positive police-community relations is important among vulnerable populations as the result is an increase in the reporting of crime, public cooperation and the increases the likeliness of individuals and family members to seek the support of police when needed. To accomplish this positive experience, YouthLink Educators are in charge of all group management. Attending social agency staff also contributes details about services accessible to participants and provides an on-going support system for individuals and their families.
This program is currently in the pilot stage. An evaluation process is in the works, as we seek to collaborate the tracking of this program’s success with information and statistics collected at both the police and community level. However, participating organizations and CPS Officers have provided us with valuable and supportive feedback.