Safe Places welcomes Chinook School Division
Chinook School Division and the City of Swift Current are proud to announce a new partnership, working together to promote and implement Safe Places. Safe Places has been in place for almost three years, including ongoing discussions with the school division to determine their involvement and the needs for the education sector.
Chinook Director of Education, Kyle Mcintyre, provided Safe Places with opportunities over the last 18 months to present the initiative to division and school administration. They continued open communications to allow Safe Places to develop a customized program that both organizations will actively stand behind.
Safe Places Manager, Kelly Schafer, is delighted with the level of support Chinook has committed to as their involvement allows the initiative to reach far beyond Swift Current and to over 60 schools. “Positioning ourselves to develop and implement Safe Places within the education sector has required a lot of communication and work from both partners. We would like to give thanks to Chinook School Division staff for working on this initiative with us. Their guidance and the time they have committed to the process for implementation has been instrumental,” said Schafer. “If one more person can provide a positive experience for a child from the lessons learned in this program... if one more person can recognize signs of danger or reach out as a first responder as a result of Safe Places, then we will have achieved something.”
Chinook Board Chair, Kim Pridmore, expressed appreciation for their partnership with the City of Swift Current and Safe Places. “I’m proud to report that every one of the trustees has committed to obtaining their youth certification. We all have a passion for seeing youth in our communities thrive in a safe learning environment. As a parent, I feel reassured that we are taking every possible measure to help children and youth in our schools feel safe and protected,” said Pridmore, “Many of our staff and volunteers are also actively involved in coaching and working with youth outside of the schools, so we encourage individuals to take part in the Safe Places program and get their youth certification.”
Safe Places has also received continued support from Respect Group to work with them as the program continues to evolve, as part of the process to becoming Youth Certified is completing the Respect Group training. Safe Places has adapted the Respect in Sport program for the education sector, so individuals may complete Respect in School as their training component with a slightly shorter online course focusing on the school environment. Both options remain available to Chinook staff and volunteers.
“Becoming the first school division in Canada to engage in the Safe Places movement demonstrates a strong commitment to child safety and abuse prevention,” said Mark Allen of Respect Group. “All adults who work with kids within the education system, despite their position, play a key role on looking after the best interest of children. Respect Group acknowledges the strong leadership the City of Swift Current and its many community partners including Chinook, are making in the name of abuse prevention.”
MNP Swift Current has also named Safe Places as a recipient of funds from the MNP Bronco Alumni Classic. This funding is allocated to offset some costs associated with Respect Group training, supporting over 300 people this year and ensuring the funding has a direct impact on the local community. This allocation has allowed Safe Places to put together a favorable welcome package for the schools as well.
City of Swift Current Mayor, Denis Perrault, sees this as a milestone for Safe Places. “Having the support of our friends at Chinook School Division to champion this initiative is a key component to collectively creating the healthiest environment possible for our children. The education sector is uniquely positioned to have a definitive impact on our children’s lives as they work to inspire, teach, and enable them to be the best they can be,” said Mayor Perrault. “Partnerships such as these are necessary, and will only be a benefit in reinforcing the message that our children have the right to feel safe both physically and emotionally at any time, in any situation.”
Chinook School Division has committed to initiate support of Safe Places in the following ways:
• All Chinook Board of Education Trustees will become Youth Certified. • Communicate to communities and parents that Chinook will now be accepting valid Safe Places – Youth Certified cards for anyone working/supporting or volunteering with students. In the interest of the health and safety of youth, Chinook will strongly encourage parents and school volunteers to obtain their Safe Places – Youth Certification.
• All members of the Chinook Educational Leadership Team (ELT) and Chinook Coordinators Group (CCG) will become Youth Certified.
• All Chinook Education Centre employees have been invited to become Youth Certified as well.
All of the Chinook Board of Education trustees have made a commitment to obtaining their Safe Places – Youth Certification through this new initiative. Top Row (L-R): Dianne Hahn, Shane Andrus, Allan Bridal, Larry Caswell, Susan Mouland; Bottom Row (L-R): Kimberly Pridmore, Tim Weinbender, Gwen Humphrey, Tim Ramage, Katelyn Toney.