‘STEPS’ to keep kids safe

Man wants to see kids get what they need to suc­ceed

Toronto Sun - - NEWS - KEVIN CON­NOR

Jim Boyd is mak­ing it his mis­sion to see kids have the “ar­mour” to suc­ceed.

And he says in to­day’s world, knowl­edge of crime, ac­ci­dent and fire pre­ven­tion, emer­gency pre­pared­ness as well as men­tal health aware­ness are tools kids need to sur­vive.

He cre­ated the not-for­profit Safety Train­ing Em­pow­er­ment Pro­grams for Stu­dents (STEPS) to try to make sure stu­dents get the pre­ven­tion ed­u­ca­tion they re­quire.

Boyd is work­ing to have STEPS of­fered in schools by this fall as well as mak­ing an on­line ver­sion avail­able. Un­der the pro­gram, po­lice of­fi­cers, fire­fight­ers and paramedics would pro­vide in­struc­tion on health, se­cu­rity and about pos­i­tive life­styles.

“We can­not as­sume that our youth will get proper in­for­ma­tion, ed­u­ca­tion or train­ing in these crit­i­cal ar­eas of their lives,” said Boyd, who is re­cruit­ing vol­un­teers to work for the pro­gram.

Boyd’s own chil­dren strug­gled in the tar­get ar­eas and he wants to see an eas­ier path for oth­ers.

“And there is the fact that I drove an am­bu­lance for 35 years. I’ve seen the needs,” he said.

In the mid-2000s, Boyd spear­headed the Cross­roads Youth Pro­gram­ming in 22 Mis­sis­sauga schools with teach­ing ses­sions that in­cluded youth and the law, cy­ber safety and drug ed­u­ca­tion.

“STEPS was born from there. With all the vi­o­lence in the GTA, peo­ple are look­ing for an­swers. I don’t have them but we can teach the con­se­quences,” Boyd said.

A year ago while STEPS was be­ing planned, Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Safety and Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness Raplh Goodale ap­plauded Boyd for his plans and en­cour­aged him to ap­ply for ap­ply for a fed­eral grant to fi­nance the pro­gram.

“I com­mend your ini­tia­tive to en­sure Cana­dian stu­dents re­ceive qual­ity men­tal health train­ing as well as crime, fire and ac­ci­dent pre­ven­tion train­ing,” Goodale wrote.

“That money is bet­ter used in fund­ing bet­ter polic­ing and in­fra­struc­ture pro­grams for youth at risk.," Boyd said, adding his plans are to pro­vide train­ing at no cost to the tax rolls.

He is look­ing to get per­mis­sion to link to web­sites such as the Min­istry of Labour.

“We can use some ex­ist­ing in­for­ma­tion. (The Min­istry of Labour) have a sec­tion for young work­ers. Kids can take quizzes, get cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, build a re­sume and get a job,” Boyd said.

He wants to es­tab­lish and of­fer 40-hour STEPS ed­u­ca­tion train­ing where stu­dents can earn cer­tifi­cates.

“Who is go­ing to get hired? A kid who has been cut­ting grass or one who stepped up to the plate and knows about the real world,” he said.

TORONTO SUN PHOTO

Jim Boyd has cre­ated a pro­gram to help stu­dents get the pre­ven­tion ed­u­ca­tion they re­quire.

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