McGuinty government committed to bringing opportunities to youth in Durham Region



    Youth in Policing and Youth Outreach Worker Programs Part Of Overall
    Initiative For Youth

    WHITBY, ON, April 19 /CNW/ - Approximately 20 youth from underserved
communities in Durham Region will work with the Durham Regional Police Service
this summer and others will receive support and services through the
province's Youth Opportunities Strategy, Minister of Children and Youth
Services Mary Anne Chambers announced today along with Police Chief Vernon
White and Wayne Arthurs, MPP for Pickering-Ajax-Uxbridge.
    "Our Youth in Policing program enables young people to gain real work
experience, obtain a job reference for future employment, build
self-confidence, learn about careers in policing and make a positive
contribution to their communities," said Chambers. "Youth outreach workers
will also help underserved youth access a wide range of programs and services
so they have a better opportunity to be successful."
    In 2006, the Youth Opportunities Strategy was implemented in underserved
communities in Durham Region and Toronto. In 2007, the strategy's initiatives
are continuing in Toronto, expanding in Durham Region and being introduced in
Ottawa, London, Windsor, Thunder Bay and Hamilton. The government is investing
approximately $322,300 annually starting this year to deliver the Youth
Opportunities Strategy in Durham Region.
    Through the Youth in Policing Initiative, young people have an
opportunity to work in a variety of areas with their local police service,
including technology, forensic identification, community events and traffic
safety. Five youth worked with the Durham Regional Police Service in summer
2006. In 2007, the ministry will fund 15 Youth in Policing jobs and the Durham
police will fund an additional five jobs. The Youth Outreach Worker Program
employs four outreach workers year-round to serve as mentors and advocates for
hard-to-reach youth.
    The ministry worked closely with community stakeholders and partners -
including regional government officials and representatives from the
probation, police, recreation, community health and youth employment sectors -
to identify communities in Durham Region that could most benefit from these
programs. They are: Ajax, Pickering, Whitby, South Oshawa and the Nonquon area
in Oshawa.
    "These initiatives will help youth in Durham Region's underserved
communities overcome the challenges they face in their day-to-day lives," said
Arthurs. "These youth are talented and have great potential. Our government is
determined to help them harness those talents and realize that potential."
    "We are delighted that the Minister has once again supported the Youth in
Policing Initiative and we are looking forward to meeting and working with a
whole new group of young people this summer," said White.
    This is one of the many steps the McGuinty government has taken to create
more opportunities for young people in Ontario. Other government initiatives
include:

    
       -   Helping youth make good choices through Youthconnect.ca, a new
           youth-oriented website that provides a forum for young people to
           access information, services and resources
       -   Implementing Student Success teams in every secondary school to
           ensure that every at-risk student is connected with a caring adult
       -   Increasing the number of new apprenticeship registrations to a
           total of 26,000 in 2007-08
       -   Investing $15 million in 2006-07 -- rising to $55 million in
           2009-10 -- to improve access to postsecondary opportunity for
           Francophones, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and
           those who would be the first in their families to attend college
           or university.

    "Youth in underserved communities tell us they don't have access to these
kinds of opportunities," said Chambers. "We need to do all that we can to help
them break down the barriers they face to a brighter future."


                           Disponible en français
                           www.children.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES STRATEGY IN DURHAM REGION
    

    The Ontario government's three-year, $28.5 million Youth Opportunities
Strategy is building stronger communities by establishing and expanding
community programs that help youth achieve a brighter future. The strategy
recognizes that some youth, particularly those in marginalized and stigmatized
communities, often do not have access to opportunities and supports that would
help them to be successful in life.
    The government is investing approximately $322,300 annually starting this
year to improve outcomes for youth in underserved communities in Durham
Region. In 2006, the Youth Opportunities Strategy was implemented in Durham
Region and Toronto neighbourhoods. In 2007, the strategy will continue in
Durham Region and Toronto and is expanding to Hamilton, Windsor, Ottawa,
London and Thunder Bay.
    The strategy includes the following initiatives in Durham Region:

    Youth in Policing Initiative

    The Youth in Policing Initiative provides opportunities for approximately
20 youth to work with the Durham Regional Police Service this summer - 15
funded by the government and five funded by the police. The eight-week program
strengthens relationships between youth and the police, enables young people
to acquire an understanding of some aspects of policing, and encourages them
to consider policing as a future career option. Five youth participated in
this program in 2006 in Durham Region.
    Participants ages 14 to 17 will work in a variety of areas, including
information technology, forensic identification, community events and traffic
safety.

    Youth Outreach Worker Program

    The Youth Outreach Worker Program employs four outreach workers
year-round to serve as mentors and advocates for hard-to-reach youth. Outreach
workers ensure youth are aware of, and know how to access, a wide range of
programs and services. They also promote youth engagement in all aspects of
life in their communities.
    The program is being coordinated by The Youth Centre, which services the
communities of Ajax, Pickering and Whitby, and the Eastview Boys and Girls
Club, which services the communities of South Oshawa, Whitby and the Nonquon
area.

    YouthConnect.ca

    While there are a wide range of programs and services to assist youth, it
is often confusing and difficult for youth to know what services are
available, where to find them and how to access them. The government's new
website, YouthConnect.ca, brings this information together in a coordinated,
creative, comprehensive and youth-friendly way, for the benefit of youth
wherever they live in Ontario.
    YouthConnect.ca provides a forum for young people to access information,
services and resources that will help them make good choices, achieve success
and contribute positively to their communities. The design and content of the
new website was developed based on input and feedback from youth and
stakeholders that interact with youth.

    
    Disponible en français


                           www.children.gov.on.ca
                             www.youthconnect.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Tricia Edgar, Minister's Office, (416)
212-7161, (416) 571-7247 (Cell); Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children
and Youth Services, (416) 325-5156

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ONTARIO MINISTRY OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES

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