REACH Edmonton

Seven local youth groups will be putting a City of Edmonton grant to use in their communities, through youth-organized events and projects. Youth groups from across Edmonton attended the second annual Combat Crime Think Tank May 25, where they gathered to discuss community safety and generate ideas on how youth can be active members of their communities. They will then take this knowledge back to their communities, along with a $1,000 grant, and organize an event or project in their neighbourhoods. “When Combat Crime was first held in the spring of 2012 it sparked energy and passion from the participants,” said Ian Smith, Child Friendly Edmonton Coordinator and a presenter at the 2013 Combat Crime event. “The youth groups that attended gained essential knowledge and skills that encouraged creative thinking around community safety and engaging youth in preventing crime and violence.” The teens attending took the time to discuss how they were affected by crime in their own communities and schools and came across the common theme of bullying. With the guidance of Combat Crime organizers, each group went home to their local neighbourhoods and got to work. One group put its grant toward holding a free screening of the documentary “Bully” at Garneau Theatre. Beyond just being a success, the organizing group filled the theatre to capacity for an evening that focused on addressing the issue of bullying in the youth community. The youth groups participating in Combat Crime in 2013 will be working on their projects throughout the summer months and will gather for a wrap-up gala at City Hall Oct. 10 to celebrate their successes and showcase their work and network with other youth groups in the community. Combat Crime is giving local youth a chance to see that they are capable of changing their communities for the better with their own ideas. As one participating teen said: “Combat Crime gave all of us the opportunity to work with other youth and truly understand what community safety means at the grassroots level.”