High Risk Youth Conference brings Odd Squad to Edmonton

EDMONTON - Youth workers, service providers and researchers from across Canada are gathering in Edmonton May 12 and 13 to discuss strategies to help high-risk youth with increasingly complex needs. This two-day conference is planned and hosted by local government agencies, police and community organizations and will feature four keynote speakers including the Odd Squad.

The Odd Squad was formed when Mark Steinkampf, a beat cop in Vancouver's downtown east side, started filming the tragedy of drug addiction with six other officers. This film resulted in the National Film Board's documentary "Through a Blue Lens." Steinkampf has since travelled across the country sharing his experiences with youth and communities.

"In alignment with the Social Policy Framework, service providers are shifting their practices to focus on building partnerships with youth and this is a change that needs to be reinforced and encouraged," said Peter Smyth, Specialist with Edmonton and Area Child and Family Services. "We want to build on these youths existing skills and find solutions with them rather than for them." It is the committee's firm belief that high risk youth, and all youth, deserve the opportunity to live their lives in a meaningful way, to feel safe, and experience a sense of inclusion and belonging. For more information or to arrange an interview, please call Heather Peddle at 780-392-2568 or Peter Smyth at 780-717-7286.

Partners Include: Alberta Health Services Addiction and Mental Health • Alberta Justice and Solicitor General • Boyle Street Community Center • Chimo Youth Retreat Center • E4C • Edmonton and Area Child and Family Services • Edmonton John Howard Society • Edmonton Police Services • Family Violence Prevention and Homeless Supports Division, Human Services • MacEwan University • Old Strathcona Youth Society • REACH Edmonton • Safe and Caring Schools and Communities • Youth Empowerment & Support Services