McGuinty Government's Youth In Policing Initiative A Success In London



    Part Of Government's Strategy To Provide More Opportunities For Youth

    LONDON, ON, Aug. 28 /CNW/ - Seven youth from underserved communities in
London gained work experience and valuable skills this summer as part of the
McGuinty government's Youth in Policing Initiative, London Fanshawe MPP Khalil
Ramal, London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews, London West MPP Chris Bentley and
Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Steve Peters announced today on behalf of Minister
of Children and Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers.
    "Over the last two months, young people from London have worked with the
London Police Service and gained work experience, developed new skills, built
self-confidence and learned about careers in policing," said Ramal. "These
young people can now use this foundation to build future employment and
careers."
    Under the program, young people 14 to 17 years of age worked in various
departments, including court services, the identification unit and the
computer information department. More than 160 young people worked with local
police services across the province this summer.
    "These youth have great talent, enthusiasm and potential," said Bentley.
"Through this program our government is working to help them harness those
talents, sustain that enthusiasm and realize that potential."
    "This initiative helps Ontario youth to overcome the challenges they face
in their day-to-day lives," said Matthews. "By providing access to
opportunities and supports, it helps young people to succeed in the face of
adversity."
    "I am proud to be a part of a government that believes in the importance
of strong communities and understands that government has a role in helping
young people achieve their potential," said Peters.
    "The Youth in Policing Initiative has provided an excellent opportunity
for the London Police Service to recognize the talent of teenagers through
participation in a positive work environment," said London Police Chief Murray
Faulkner. "This initiative enabled us to offer employment, while encouraging
positive life skills and habits that will serve these young people as they
plan their future."
    "These young people in London's underserved communities may have been
without employment this summer had it not been for our Youth in Policing
Initiative," said Chambers. "This program not only provides employment, it
also prepares young people to succeed in the future and consider a potential
career in policing."
    The Youth in Policing Initiative is one component of the province's Youth
Opportunities Strategy, a broad-based plan to help young people faced with
significant challenges achieve individual success. The McGuinty government is
investing $28.5 million over the first three years of the strategy. In 2006,
the strategy was implemented in Toronto and Durham Region communities. In
2007, it was expanded to additional underserved communities in Windsor,
Ottawa, London, Hamilton and Thunder Bay.
    In addition to the Youth in Policing Initiative, approximately 175 young
people from underserved London communities also gained valuable skills and
work experience as part of the McGuinty government's Summer Jobs for Youth
Program. The government worked closely with community stakeholders and
partners - including the City of London, the United Way of London/Middlesex
and community leaders - to identify London's underserved neighbourhoods. They
are: Carling, Huron Heights, White Oaks/Southdale and Limberlost.

    
    Disponible en français

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


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES STRATEGY IN LONDON
    

    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 more than $930,000 annually starting this
year to improve outcomes for youth in underserved communities in London. In
2006, the Youth Opportunities Strategy was implemented primarily in Toronto
and Durham Region neighbourhoods. In 2007, the strategy is continuing in
Toronto and Durham Region and has expanded to Hamilton, Windsor, Ottawa,
London and Thunder Bay.
    The strategy includes the following initiatives in London:

    Summer Jobs for Youth Program

    The Summer Jobs for Youth Program provided approximately 175 young people
ages 15 to 18 with the job readiness skills they need to build confidence and
lead rewarding, productive lives. It included pre-employment readiness,
employment placements in a variety of fields including recreation, business
and youth leadership, and post-employment supports. In summer 2007,
approximately 1,800 young people participated in the program across the
province.
    The eight-week program is being coordinated by Youth Opportunities
Unlimited.

    Youth in Policing Initiative

    The Youth in Policing Initiative provided opportunities for seven youth
ages 14 to 17 to work with the London Police Service this summer. The
eight-week program strengthened relationships between youth and the police,
enabled young people to acquire an understanding of some aspects of policing,
and encouraged them to consider policing as a future career option. More than
160 young people worked with local police services across the province this
summer.
    Participants worked in a variety of areas, including information court
services, the identification unit and computer information.

    Youth Outreach Worker Program

    The Youth Outreach Worker Program employs five outreach workers
year-round to serve as 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. The program, coordinated by local agencies, employs a total of
66 youth outreach workers across the province.
    In London, the program is coordinated by London InterCommunity Health
Centre.

    YouthConnect.ca

    While there is 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. 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.

    School-based Prevention/Diversion Program

    The School-based Prevention/Diversion Program creates partnerships among
schools, school boards, community agencies, police and others. In London, the
program partners include: the Thames Valley District School Board, the London
District Catholic School Board, St. Leonard's Society of London and the
police. This program helps high school students aged 12 to 17, who are at risk
of becoming involved in, or are already involved in, violent and/or offending
activity, to increase their chances of school success.
    Justice partners tell us that many young people enter the justice system
as a result of a conflict in school and up to 70 per cent of youth appearing
in court have been suspended or expelled from school within a year of their
offending date. This program increases the ability of schools to deal with
conflict through a peer mediation program delivered in the school setting.
Participants are also referred to appropriate support services, such as
counseling, recreational programming, and assistance with school work,
employment and housing.

    
    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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