A group of youth from across Canada are putting steps in place to help reduce crime in their communities with the help of local law enforcement.
Janielle Javier is from the rural town of Fisher Branch, Man., but she refuses to turn a blind eye to the issues affecting her community.
“We want to teach our community how to protect themselves from sexual predators as well as learn about sexual consent,” said the 18-year-old.
Javier is one of 13 teenagers chosen from across Canada to participate in the RCMP’s annual youth leadership workshop.
The week-long leadership program for students in grades nine to 12 is hosted by the RCMP Depot Divison in Regina.
The students are tasked with identifying societal problems affecting youth in their communities including crime and victimization.
“They’ve talked about bullying and cyber-bullying as well as issues like substance misuse,” said Jacob Abdel-Messih with the RCMP National Youth Services.
Each participant is paired with an RCMP member, either sworn or civilian, who provides support in building an action plan to help solve the issues.
Javier has been working alongside Const. Aayesha Dean, a police ally from her community.
“We want to educate the young women and men of our town about the issues of sexual consent and identifying sexual predators,” Dean said.
The duo plans to host workshops and self-defence classes as a way to promote sexual assault awareness within their community.
Javier said she realized the issues affecting her community are happening in other regions across the country.
“It makes me feel pretty great to know that I am helping and contributing to something that will help other people,” Javier explained.
Organizers say the program also helps to bridge the trust gap between police and the people they protect.
This was the 10th year of the program which is open to high school students in Canada.
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