The Building Bridges launched to prevent kids from gang activity, under-age drinking, assault, drug crimes and mischief in Lethbridge, Alberta

By reaching out early to at-risk youth who may become involved in crime, a new community-based project in Lethbridge offers youth a creative outlet.

The Building Bridges: Creating Resiliency program will address youth crime issues such as gang activity, under-age drinking, assault, drug crimes and mischief.

“This Lethbridge project is a great example of a community that came together to identify specific issues happening in its own backyard,” said Alison Redford, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “By addressing these crime issues early enough, we will be giving our kids the support they need to take a more positive path.”
Developed and led by Lethbridge Family Services, this project is receiving $480,000 from the Alberta government’s Safe Communities Innovation Fund. By providing interventions such as in-school resiliency groups, engaging in community service and volunteerism, and a dramatic arts production, the pilot aims to help students aged 12-18 address challenges such as absenteeism, substance abuse and violence. The goal is to have students make better choices and complete their high school education.
“Early intervention, such as in-school groups, has a tremendously positive influence on youth in their community. Research shows that young people with positive adult role models are more confident, more likely to stay in school, and less likely to become involved with drugs or crime,” said Yvonne Fritz, Minister of Children and Youth Services. “The Building Bridges program in Lethbridge will help youth build on their strengths, make positive life decisions, and become more independent and successful.”
Said Dave Hancock, Minister of Education,“Building Bridges supports government’s work to improve high school completion by addressing such issues as truancy. The project will provide students the tools they need to be engaged in their learning and move them toward post-secondary pursuits or employment opportunities.”
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