December 6, 2018 1:25 am
Updated: December 6, 2018 3:48 am

Calgary police aim to prevent division, radicalization with first-ever youth program

Five Calgary teens designed and presented a radicalization prevention workshop in Calgary on Wednesday.

Global News
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Five Calgary teens designed and presented a workshop to prevent radicalization in the community at Vivo Centre for Healthier Generations on Wednesday evening.

The 16- to 19-year-old volunteers were recruited through organizations and schools to comprise the ReDirect Youth Innovation Group — an education program by Calgary police and neighbourhoods that aims to get youth coming up with solutions to ward off division in the city.

The quintet chose to address “us versus them” thinking through activities that promoted togetherness with the first-ever youth-led education program on empathy.

Five Calgary teens designed and presented a radicalization prevention workshop in Calgary on Wednesday.

Global News

The program, which received funding from Public Safety Canada, addresses issues that can lead vulnerable people down a path of polarization, division or dehumanization. Awareness is at the heart of the youth-driven prevention program.

“Each station is about how we can bring people together and celebrate differences, and also what unifies us,” said John Acheson, a ReDirect family liaison and outreach worker with the Calgary Police Service.

Five Calgary teens designed and presented a radicalization prevention workshop in Calgary on Wednesday. One goal is to get people to build empathy by being curious.

Global News

One goal is about building empathy early on, he said.

“How do we understand people that are different than us?” Acheson asked. “Or maybe, how do we understand people who have gone through a phase of their life and have changed? Or understanding people who are perhaps new to Canada.”

We build empathy through curiosity, Acheson said — asking questions and learning to know people without judgement.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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