Bridging Perspectives: Strengthening Our Youth

The Cause

Trust between at-risk youth, law enforcement officers, and former gang members is at an all-time low. We cannot deny the growing concern that Alberta's communities are increasingly falling under the influence of gangs. The lack of trust exacerbates this issue, threatening the very fabric of our
province’s values.
In response, Kids Play Alberta, a non-profit organization working towards keeping kids away from the lifestyle of drugs, gangs, and violence; seeks funding for a vital community initiative, Bridging Perspectives: Strengthening Youth. This project tackles the urgent need to provide a safe platform where shared values can be uncovered, clarity can be formed, and approaches can be open to include other perspectives; creating an environment where everyone's voices can be acknowledged and heard.
Utilizing the lived experience of ex gang members who work in community, law enforcement officers and five youth, we aim to come together to provide tools for effective engagement through facilitating a process designed to define and achieve desired end goal.
A group of 10 members, including a professional facilitator will meet weekly for 12 weeks to come together and identify topics that are collectively agreed upon and work towards a clear vision forward to prevent gang involvement with our youth.
Meaningful growth often springs from unexpected moments and shared experiences. By nurturing open dialogues among diverse perspectives – encompassing at-risk youth, law enforcement, and former gang members – we aim to dismantle barriers separating us. This approach redirects focus from predefined roles to recognizing everyone’s humanity.
Conflict Resolution Skills: Our initiative sets out to model conflict resolution skills for the youth, empowering them to navigate disagreements constructively and avoid violence as a recourse.
Building Long-Term Bonds: Our ambition extends beyond short-term solutions. We aim to cultivate enduring connections among participants, weaving a fabric of community and shared responsibility.
The urgency is palpable. Communities grapple with deep-rooted trust issues, jeopardizing the very foundation upon which progress stands. "Bridging Perspectives" is more than a project; it's a call to action, an opportunity to reshape narratives and rebuild the trust essential for collectively moving forward in the prevention of youth gang involvement.

Who Will it Benefit?

At-risk Youth: Through modelling Conflict Resolution techniques and mentorship, we empower youth with essential skills, guidance, and a sense of belonging. This equips them to navigate challenges differently and contributes to the needed awareness of the influence of gangs.
Law Enforcement Officers and Former Gang Members: By involving a law enforcement officer and an ex-gang member in knowledge exchange, we can create an environment for shared understanding. This benefits law enforcement by fostering a more empathetic approach, while former gang members
contribute valuable insights to prevent youth involvement.
Community members will gain from the shared knowledge generated by this project. While it may not directly diminish gang influence, it initiates conversations and encourages deeper engagement. The impact includes reduced gang sway, enhanced safety, and a more united environment. Dialogue sessions and community-building activities aim to bring diverse perspectives together, fostering empathy and shared responsibility. This collective effort strengthens community relationships, ensuring a more inclusive understanding of the situation.