REACH Edmonton

Half-way through a five-year project, WrapED (Wraparound Edmonton) released two short videos demonstrating the impact the initiative is having on youth and the organizations who serve them at a community report back event May 3 that was attended by nearly 120 people.

The first video tells the story of how WrapED has helped one youth turn her life around and step away from violence and crime.

The teen featured in the video, who has chosen the pseudonym Paige, says the initiative has given her the tools to take control of her own life and reach her full potential.

“WrapED is a program that helps youth who want to be helped . . it’s opened up so many opportunities for me,” said Paige. “It pushed me to succeed.”

Before becoming involved in WrapED, Paige spent nine months in Edmonton’s Young Offenders Centre for a number of charges, some of them violent.

Today, she is finishing school and is working towards her goal of becoming a registered nurse, and spends some of her spare time volunteering with junior high girls, sharing her experiences and urging them to make positive choices.

“I definitely did not think that I would be doing this, even six, seven months ago,” she said.

The second video shows the impact of the partnership on the organizations serving the young people in the program and how it has helped them work differently in their daily lives.

“I couldn’t do my job without the other youth workers,” said one WrapED youth worker. “A lot of my kids are friends with their kids so we’re all utilizing each other to find the best approach to support our youth.”

WrapED is a collaboration between six partners: Africa Centre, Edmonton John Howard Society, Edmonton Police Service, Native Counselling Services of Alberta, REACH Edmonton and YOUCAN Youth Services.

The youth involved in the program are referred by police or other social agencies and are often facing multiple barriers to success, putting them at risk of becoming involved in gangs.

WrapED is focused on helping the youth build a personal support team, or wraparound team, 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.

“When you have all of these organizations coming together with the collective wisdom from each organizations, we’re strong,” said Robin Murray, Executive Director of the Edmonton John Howard Society. “”But when you bring us together the impact that we can have collectively can be profound, and we can see it. They have extensions into the community and the strength that’s there is amazing.”