At-risk youth pro­gram be­ing rolled out quickly

First job post­ing is­sued

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - lj­grant@cb­ BY LAURA JEAN GRANT

Just days af­ter fund­ing was an­nounced for a youth crime preven­tion ini­tia­tive, the first job post­ing has been is­sued as of­fi­cials work to roll out the pro­gram quickly.

On Mon­day in Glace Bay, $ 4.5 mil­lion in fund­ing was com­mit­ted over the next five years for a youth crime preven­tion pro­gram in the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity — $ 3.9 mil­lion from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment through its na­tional crime preven­tion fund, and $ 600,000 from the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice Sgt. Tom Ri­p­ley, who was among the team that worked to get the pro­gram es­tab­lished, will now work as a li­ai­son be­tween the pro­gram and Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice Chief Peter McIsaac.

Ri­p­ley said McIsaac will serve as chair of an over­sight com­mit­tee that has been es­tab­lished to over­see the pro­gram. It in­cludes se­nior of­fi­cials from the po­lice ser­vice and the CBRM, as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives from other pro­gram part­ners.

The com­mit­tee’s first or­der of busi­ness has been to is­sue a call for ap­pli­ca­tions for the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor po­si­tion with the pro­gram. The ap­pli­ca­tion process will close July 15.

“At that time there will be a se­lec­tion process and the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor will be se­lected,” he said. “If ev­ery­thing goes as planned, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor will be in place Aug. 10, and at that time the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor will then start hir­ing his or her own staff and start mov­ing for­ward.”

The pro­gram, ti­tled Re­siliency Ed­u­ca­tion Lead­er­ship Ad­ven­ture and Youth Ser­vice, will tar­get youths be­tween the ages of 12 and 17, with an es­ti­mated 24 youth work­ers to be hired to sup­port 70 at- risk youth each year.

Ri­p­ley said many of the youth work­ers hired will work di­rectly with ex­ist­ing com­mu­nity youth ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions in a num­ber of com­mu­ni­ties in the CBRM.

“We have so many not- for­prof­its that do work with youth now and are do­ing a great job, so why rein­vent the wheel when they’re do­ing it al­ready,” he said. “Not- for­prof­its strug­gle con­stantly look­ing for money and try­ing to make ends meet, so hope­fully this will be a way to help them and to reach out to the youth that we’re work­ing with.”

Ri­p­ley said the pro­gram, de­scribed as the largest youth crime preven­tion pro­gram of its kind in At­lantic Canada, is the re­sult of the col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts of a team of peo­ple, in­clud­ing CBRM Mayor Ce­cil Clarke and coun­cil, McIsaac and se­nior of­fi­cials with the po­lice, and a va­ri­ety of com­mu­nity and gov­ern­ment part­ners.

“We have so many not­for- prof­its that do work with youth now and are do­ing a great job, so why rein­vent the wheel when they’re do­ing it al­ready.” Sgt. Tom Ri­p­ley


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