Youth-led program breaks down barriers between youth, police
A summer program designed by youth, and for youth, created a space for teens and young adults from ethnocultural communities to connect and correct misconceptions of each other.
The Police and Youth Engagement Program (PYEP) ran August 9 to 13 this year. This youth-led and community driven summer program builds capacity for immigrant and refugee youth while engaging police and the community.
The program aims to bring police and youth together, remove misconceptions on both sides, build trust, and create a safe and comfortable environment in which dialogue can occur.
“My experience was pretty positive,” said Constable Abdirahman Kulmiye with the Edmonton Police Service’s Equity, Inclusion & Human Rights Branch. “It’s a reminder that kids are kids. In our line of work we don’t always deal with people in the best circumstances all the time.”
PYEP expands police knowledge about ethno-cultural communities and the issues that affect them.
“I think for the police membership, any engagement event brings out a little more understanding of themselves and others.” says Kulmiye. “None of us really knows how to be a human being.. We don't have instruction manuals so we gain our humanity through our interactions with others.”
“I think it’s a slow progression of breaking down barriers,” says Kulmiye. “Police are people, and we’re approachable more often than not. We’re just trying to have a conversation.”
PYEP is supported by the Edmonton Police Service, Edmonton Police Foundation, Canada Summer Jobs and REACH Edmonton.