Tak­ing ac­tion on vi­o­lence against women

North West River youth em­braces op­por­tu­nity pro­vided by RCMP; plans to raise aware­ness

The Labradorian - - Editorial - BY DANETTE DOO­LEY danette@nl.rogers.com

Alice Miche­lin of North West River re­cently re­turned from a Youth Lead­er­ship Work­shop at RCMP De­pot in Regina, Saskatchewan where young peo­ple from across the coun­try talked about var­i­ous timely top­ics – from bul­ly­ing to road safety, from sex­ual con­sent to sub­stance mis­use.

The 17-year-old honours stu­dent at Lake Melville School said her for­mer English teacher, Reg Hutch­ings, en­cour­aged her to ap­ply for the work­shop.

Af­ter mak­ing some in­quiries, Alice con­tacted RCMP Cpl. Chris­tine Soucy of the Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay de­tach­ment about her in­ter­est in heading to Regina.

Alice told the Cor­po­ral how she is in­volved in nu­mer­ous ac­tiv­i­ties in her school. She plays vol­ley­ball, bad­minton and ta­ble ten­nis and helps out with the Kids Eat Smart pro­gram and at­tends a weekly youth group.

She also vol­un­teers her time at the an­nual se­niors Christ­mas din­ner in North West River and helped at the mas­quer­ade ball fundraiser for Libra House in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay.

The work­shop at RCMP De­pot took place Aug. 21-26.

Alice said the ses­sions helped her strengthen her lead­er­ship and pub­lic speak­ing skills.

The youth also learned a lot about the RCMP, she said.

“We got to see the swim­ming pool and the gym, and a lot of dif­fer­ent other things that go on at De­pot. And we also had time to work on our ac­tion plans for when we came back home,” she said.

Alice’s ac­tion plan will help her raise aware­ness about vi­o­lence against women in her com­mu­nity.

“Alice is tasked to develop a com­mu­nity ac­tion plan to help ad­dress a youth crime or vic­tim­iza­tion is­sue in her com­mu­nity. Alice hopes to raise aware­ness against do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and make her com­mu­nity safer,” Soucy said.

She will par­tic­i­pate in the an­nual Take Back the Night Walk in Septem­ber and will host a vigil at her school on Dec. 6 – a day set aside as Na­tional Day of Re­mem­brance and Ac­tion on Vi­o­lence Against Women.

“In Fe­bru­ary (2019) I’ll be do­ing some­thing for the Red Dress project,” Alice said of the an­nual event that raises aware­ness about the coun­try’s miss­ing and mur­dered Indige­nous women.

Alice said the lead­er­ship work­shop was a great op­por­tu­nity to meet youth from across the coun­try.

“At the end of the week we all pre­sented our ac­tion plans. And, even if the idea was the same, all the ac­tions plans were dif­fer­ent,” she said.

When asked what she learned from par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ses­sions, Alice said, it be­came ob­vi­ous there are prob­lems in ev­ery com­mu­nity. Many of the prob­lems that are hap­pen­ing in com­mu­ni­ties in this prov­ince, she said, are sim­i­lar in other re­gions of the coun­try.

The RCMP has been host­ing Youth Lead­er­ship Work­shops since 2011. The work­shops help youth develop skills and gain knowl­edge that helps them be­come ac­tive part­ners in help­ing keep com­mu­ni­ties safe.

An RCMP of­fi­cer ac­com­pa­nied each youth who par­tic­i­pated in the work­shop. Soucy was the po­lice of­fi­cer that men­tored Alice and was there with her through­out the week.

Alice said, “It was re­ally nice to see youth and po­lice in­ter­act­ing in a pos­i­tive way rather than a neg­a­tive one… and (Cpl. Soucy) was re­ally great in help­ing me fig­ure out the ac­tion plan I wanted to fol­low. Any questions I had she could an­swer which was re­ally good.”

Soucy said Alice did re­ally well at the lead­er­ship work­shop and is an in­spi­ra­tion to oth­ers.

Dis­cus­sions on is­sues that mat­ter were con­ducted be­tween the youth and RCMP men­tors, Soucy said, in or­der to build lead­er­ship skills and get to ex­pe­ri­ence life at De­pot.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Alice Miche­lin

CON­TRIB­UTED

RCMP Cpl. Chris­tine Soucy and 17-year-old Alice Miche­lin.

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