POLICE AND YOUTH ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM
The Police and Youth Engagement Program (PYEP) is a youth led and community driven summer program. It focuses on relationship building with cultural minority communities and Edmonton Police Service, strengthening youth leadership skills and increasing understanding of LGBTQ+, neurodiverse, and Indigenous communities.
• Cultural communities involved in PYEP include Eritrean/ Ethiopian, Oromo, Syrian, Sudanese, Somali, and LGBTQ+
• A 2019 evaluation on youth capacity building reinforced the program’s effectiveness in responding to the need for youth to have opportunities for leadership development and empowerment, and for families to trust police.
• In 2021, 6 Youth Coordinators were hired to lead the program and 6 youth volunteers were hired to provide peer support to the 43 junior and senior high students
• Newcomer Youth Leaders receive extensive training to enhance their skills in the following areas: problem solving, facilitation, presentation, coordination, event planning, communication, organization, nonviolent crisis intervention, understanding gender variance, neurodiversity, and Indigenous communities.
• Interview and focus group data revealed that the greatest changes in perceptions of police – and trust – occurred with parents, who are probably more afraid of police than the youth. Through their children’s experiences, parents learned about police roles, responsibilities, and Canadian laws.
“There were many things I learned from coordinating PYEP. I learned that communication is key to creating a program that runs smoothly and successfully. I found that every youth has a special story, and it might take time to learn these stories, but by being genuinely interested and kind I can help make them feel comfortable.”
- Youth Coordinator 2021