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Toronto Police And Province Team Up To Help Youth Succeed
Detail: Children and Youth Services Minister Mary Anne Chambers and Toronto Police Chief William Blair launched a first of its kind in Canada ‘youth in policing’ program on July 4 in Toronto. One hundred youth will begin summer jobs this week with the Toronto Police Service.

“Young people from some communities are telling us they need more opportunities to overcome the challenges they face. That’s why we’re partnering with the Toronto Police Service to support this new initiative,” said Chambers. “This program will not only provide these young people with real-life work experience, but also help them develop new skills.”

Under the program, 100 youth, 14 to 17 years of age, have been placed in jobs with various departments of the Toronto Police Service, including information technology, forensic identification, community events, traffic safety and the marine unit. Six additional youth will be placed with Durham Regional Police Service.

“The Toronto Police Service is pleased to be part of the Ontario government’s Youth Opportunities Strategy,” said Chief Blair. “This new, innovative, youth in policing program will see our young people work one-on-one with the members of my service. Not only will the Toronto Police Service learn from them, but the youth will leave here with a greater understanding of the Toronto Police Service.”

The Ontario government is providing $390,000 to support the youth in policing initiative this year. Next year, the government will invest about $585,000 to expand the initiative, enabling at least 50 more youth to work with other police service organizations across the province.

The youth in policing initiative is one component of the province’s Youth Opportunities Strategy, a broad plan to help young people faced with significant challenges achieve success. The strategy also includes:
• Establishing an annual Summer Jobs for Youth Program for 750 youth from underserved communities in Toronto.
• Hiring 39 youth outreach workers – 35 in Toronto and four in Durham Region – who will build relationships with youth, provide advice and connect them to appropriate services.
• Helping 16 Toronto youth complete their high school education through a Learn and Work Pilot Program in the Ontario Public Service that combines work experience with credit recovery.
• Piloting a new school-based prevention program in six high schools this September, including two in the Greater Toronto Area. The program will use peer mediation and role modeling programs to help prevent disruptive behaviour among students.

“Because we want to make our communities stronger – because we want to make them thrive economically, culturally and socially – we are determined to give our most vulnerable youth the support they need to be successful,” added Chambers. “Every young person has a dream. We have to provide the opportunities to help them realize those dreams.”

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Date: July 7 2006