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Government of Canada provides support for youth in Thunder Bay with Youth Inclusion Program – City of Thunder Bay
August 28, 2018 – The Thunder Bay Crime Prevention Council, in partnership with the City of Thunder Bay’s Recreation & Culture Division, submitted an application to Public Safety Canada for a Crime Prevention Action Fund Grant to support a Youth Inclusion Program (YIP) for Thunder Bay. Public Safety Canada has approved support for this program for five years, ending March 31, 2023.
YIP is an evidence-based intervention that aims to connect youth with programming and services to keep youth safe, to address risk factors for crime and victimization, and to increase protective factors.
The overall goal of the program is to increase individual and community safety and well-being by increasing knowledge and skills (including life skills), changing attitudes and behaviours, improving relationships, deepening trust, connecting youth with needed services and programs, engaging youth in pro-social recreational and cultural programming, and reducing contacts with the justice system. Another key focus of the program is to make connections with youth in northern communities prior to their arrival in Thunder Bay for high school.
The program will be youth-centered, youth-focused and youth-led.
PARTICIPANT GROUP: YOUTH AGED 12-24
Three neighbourhood sites:
The focus of the neighbourhood sites will be on connecting with and engaging youth who live in the neighbourhoods, and also engaging their families and the neighbourhood as broader supports for the youth. The approach will be very much youth focused and youth driven, with strong involvement by families where possible. The sites will be staffed with a full-time person and part-time support staff. The program will involve connecting youth with positive, safe and healthy recreational opportunities, arts programming, and culture-based programming. The goal is to identify and support youth who may find themselves at risk and facilitate connection to services where needed.
Two school sites:
1) Dennis Franklin Cromarty high School
2) Matawa Learning Center
These two school sites will be involved for the duration of the project. They will be connected to programming opportunities and support services through the Mobile Unit and Youth Navigators, both explained in more detail below.
The mobile unit will be staffed and will bring resources and supports to the two school sites, other neighbourhoods, and other identified sites, where youth can benefit from enhanced opportunities to engage and participate with peers and adults through positive social, recreational and cultural activities and services.
The Youth Navigators will support all five locations (three neighbourhoods, two school sites). Their role will be to connect with youth, build trusting relationships, create conditions for youth to connect with opportunities, other programs, services and supports as well as the neighbourhood a positive ways. The Navigators will help identify and facilitate pathways to opportunities and care, and be able to advocate on behalf of youth. Additionally, the Youth Navigators will reach out to youth in other neighbourhoods and educational settings, and engage them in activities related to the program.
The Navigators will play a critical role in assisting in preparing youth from northern communities for their life in the city, for determining their needs prior to arrival, and working with programming and service partners both on and off site to help youth make positive connections, build resilience, and increase safety and well-being.
In partnership with Fort William First Nation, a culture/land-based program will be developed and made available for youth participating in the program, including Fort William First Nation youth.
ANNUAL YOUTH GATHERING IN THUNDER BAY
The annual gathering will bring approximately 80-90 people to Thunder Bay annually, and will include grade 8 students (and a caregiver) from the northern communities who plan to come to Thunder Bay for secondary school the following year. The gathering will run 2-3 days and include a diversity of orientation events and activities, with the goal of helping youth feel more connected and familiarized with social, recreational and other opportunities for them in Thunder Bay. This gathering will include a strong focus on cultural activities and making strong connections with other youth and adult allies in Thunder Bay.
MENTORSHIP/YOUTH PEER LEADER PROGRAM
We will develop a Mentorship/Youth Peer Leader Program for youth coming to Thunder Bay for high school.
NORTHERN & LOCAL COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Engagement effort will focus on connecting with youth in norther communities and locally.
This will include travel to connect with youth and families in their home communities before youth come to Thunder Bay for high school.
YOUTH LED PROGRAMS
These programs will be supported in an effort to build youth capacity to develop and implement events and initiatives for youth.
RECOMMENDATION 116 (SEVEN YOUTH INQUEST)
This recommendation calls on named parties to work together to increase public awareness in Thunder Bay regarding the issues raised during the Inquest. This will include a local and social media campaign as well as a public forum which highlights and addresses: the obstacles and challenges faced by First Nations students from remote communities who are living in Thunder Bay; health and social issues often experienced; the current misconceptions relating to First Nations students from remote communities; the roles of community partners and community members in assisting Indigenous students; and racism experienced by First Nations students in Thunder Bay
- City of Thunder Bay Reps from Corporate Strategic Services (including Director, and Coordinators from Crime Prevention Council and Thunder Bay Drug Strategy), Recreation & Culture and Community Services
- Thunder Bay Police Service
- Fort William First Nation
- Nishnawbe Aski Nation
- Northern Nishnawbe Education Council
- Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School
- Matawa Learning Centre
- Lakehead District School Board
- North Caribou Lake First Nation
- Thunder Bay Counselling
- Children’s Centre Thunder Bay
- Thunder Bay District Health Unit
- Kairos Community Care
- Evergreen a United Neighbourhood
- Yes Employment
- Thunder Bay Drug Strategy
- Dilico Anishinabek Family Care
- District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board
5.6 million dollars have been allocated by Public Safety Canada’s Crime Prevention Action Fund to support this program over the next five years, ending March 31, 2023.
The City of Thunder Bay has offered in-kind contributions in the form of existing staff resources, site rentals, utilities and maintenance. Partner organizations have offered in-kind contributions in the form of use of facilities, staff time to support the implementation of the program, and support services and opportunities (i.e. mental health, substance use, trauma, relationship violence, education and employment supports, gang-prevention and intervention programs, life skills programs, public health programs, suicide prevention, counselling, etc.).
In-kind contributions over the five year program exceed $441,000.
Contact: Karen Lewis, Director – Corporate Strategic Services, (807) 625-3859
Lee-Ann Chevrette, Coordinator – Crime Prevention Council (807) 625-2554
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