Students shine a light on gender inequality
After spending the summer months working on community projects, youth participating in the Combat Crime program gathered to celebrate the successes at a City Hall gala Oct. 10. While showing off their summer work, students also had the chance to compete for an additional grant to keep their community work moving forward. Seven local youth groups took home a $1,000 grant to do some good in their communities after participating in the Combat Crime Youth Think Tank May 25. Following the Oct. 10 event, a youth group dedicated to raising awareness about gender inequality will be taking their work to the next level with an additional $2,500 grant won when a panel of community judges named their project the winner. Back in May, 22-year-old Rajneek Thind brought a group of friends to the Combat Crime Youth Think Tank where they came up with the idea for HAAV Heart (Humans Against All Violence). The group of seven students received the initial $1,000 grant from Combat Crime, a program funded by the City of Edmonton and administered by REACH Edmonton. They used the grant to make an Internet video about gender inequality and violence against women. "We decided to make a video because it's a really great medium that can be easily shared, and we focused on violence against women because we didn't want to limit it to one specific culture," said Thind. "It's not even an issue that's limited to women. This is an issue that affects all of us." The students who worked on the film were surprised to find that the project had an effect on them - they were shocked by some of the statistics they learned while researching the topic. "I think we feel that we are making a difference and it is important to make a cause like this visible in the community," said Thind. "I don't think there are many things like this in our community and it's a great way for people to show they care and make a difference." With the additional $2,500 grant, HAAV Heart will now focus on becoming a registered charity and creating a plan to remain sustainable. This money will pay for the creation of a website, logo, T-shirts and further social media expansion. "We all have to sit down and really strategize and focus on sustainability," said Thind. Currently, the group can be reached on Facebook at facebook.com/HAAVHeart. The video submission that won them the additional grant can be viewed here. Although not awarded the top prize, other groups that participated worked on positive projects including a bike safety rodeo, events to raise awareness about bullying and plans for a movie/toolkit about celebrating diversity and inclusion. These groups included the City of Edmonton Rising Youth, YOUCAN Step Up and Step In, TWEENS Team, Red Road Healing Society, Edmonton Pride Centre and Brander Gardens ROCKS. Combat Crime 2014 is already in the sights of the planning committee, which includes representatives from the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Police Services, REACH Edmonton, SOS Children's Safety Magazine, The United Way, Alberta Capital Region and YOUCAN. Groups interested in participating in Combat Crime can find more information by contacting REACH Edmonton.