WrapED surrounds youth with supports to move away from the threat of gangs
Half-way through a five-year project, WrapED is preparing to report back to the community at a public event on May 3.
WrapED (Wraparound Edmonton) is a collaboration between six partners: Africa Centre, Edmonton John Howard Society, Edmonton Police Service, Native Counseling Services of Alberta, REACH Edmonton and YOUCAN Youth Services.
WrapED tackles the complex challenges of youth at risk of gang involvement.
The youth involved in the program are referred by police or other social agencies and are often facing multiple barriers to success.
“They’re disenfranchised, they're marginalized, they come from violent backgrounds, they've experienced trauma in their lives,” said Superintendent David Veitch. “Maybe some of them are committing crimes, but were victims of crimes at the same time, which is troubling because it shows the chaotic nature of their lives.”
When youth are engaging in risky behaviour or struggling with making positive choices, they can be referred to the WrapED program.
“There is no opportunity for good outcomes for these kids when they're locked in those kinds of systems,” said Veitch.
WrapED differs from traditional youth-work in a number of ways. Youth workers have lighter case-loads and each youth is in the program for approximately 18 months. This provides the essential time required to build trust between a youth and youth worker.
WrapED is focused on helping youth build personal support teams, or wraparound teams, that will help them continue to work toward their goals in the years after they graduate from the program. WrapED uses a deliberate wraparound approach, based on the Wrap Canada model.
Additionally, by partnering with agencies like the Africa Centre and Native Counseling Services of Alberta (NCSA), youth with Indigenous backgrounds or immigrant and refugee experiences can be connected to the culturally appropriate supports that they need.
“What’s different about WrapED is that we have all these partners bringing their expertise to the table, and working together to help the youth set their own goals, imagine the kind of future they want to create,” said Jan Fox, Executive Director of REACH Edmonton. “These partners are working together to help them build the support team they need to help them stay on track and reach their goals.”
When youth decide to participate in the program, they are asked who they want to have on their support team, made up of people they feel they can trust. This can include family members, parole officers, social workers or anyone they choose to help them work toward the goals they have set for themselves.
By helping youth build their own support team, and set their own goals, WrapED diverts youth away from the justice system, while giving them the tools they need to build the kind of life they want.
“The interesting thing about the WrapED collaboration is that it’s just that – it’s a collaborative effort,” said Megah Tornwe, WrapED youth worker from the Africa Centre. “We bring people from different agencies, we bring people from different backgrounds, from different experiences together to help our kids grow.”
Please join us May 3, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Santa Maria Goretti Centre (11050 – 90 St.) as we present early evaluation findings and share the journey of the partners, participants and clients over the first half of this five-year project.
To RSVP, click here.