Safe Places wel­comes Chi­nook School Divi­sion

The Southwest Booster - - OPINION - SUB­MIT­TED

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.”

Back­ground

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.

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