Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag announced Tuesday that $5 million in federal funding from the National Crime Prevention Strategy will be allotted to the YMCA Plusone Mentoring program over the next five years.
Aldag made the announcement on behalf of Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, at a Tuesday morning press conference at the Tong Louie Family YMCA in Surrey.
Plusone Mentoring is a community-based program for youth ages 10 to 17 who may be experiencing academic or social challenges. Volunteers mentor youth who are referred to the program by their school, social workers, RCMP or other community partners in one-year periods, assisting them through any difficulties they may be facing in their lives.
According to a media release, the program “aims at engaging early with youth at risk of committing crimes.” The program is “proven to help deter at risk youth from coming into contact with the justice system,” and a review of the initiative found that after six months of enrollment, 86 per cent of program participants had “significantly improved their behaviour and changed their attitude.”
Aldag said, “The YMCA’s Plusone mentoring program is just the kind of smart, innovative and evidence-based approach to crime prevention that Canadians expect. I know it will be yet another success story for the YMCA, and for our community.”
Tuesday’s funding announcement will assist the YMCAs of Quebec in implementing the Plusone Mentoring program in four cities in Canada: Moncton, NB; Montreal, QC; Regina, SK; and Surrey, BC. The program will be ran in partnership with the YMCA of Great Vancouver, the YMCA of Regina, the YMCA of Greater Moncton, and program founder YMCA Scotland. The $5 million is intended to match 720 at-risk youth across Canada with a volunteer mentor.
“Our government is committed to implementing evidence-based criminal justice policies that are proven to prevent crime and victimization, and keep our communities and citizens safe,” said Goodale in a written statement. “We are proud to partner with the YMCA to implement programming that stops crime before it starts by reaching out and empowering at-risk individuals to make positive and healthy decisions by giving them access to support and opportunities.”
“Today’s teenagers face challenges that impact their overall health, confidence and ability to thrive. The YMCA Plusone Mentoring program will allow our Y to connect young people with mentors to share positive experiences, feel more connected to their community and gain a stronger sense of purpose. We are grateful for the Government of Canada’s funding for this important preventative work,” said Steve Butz, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver.
Around $43 million has been committed to projects that support the National Crime Prevention Strategy in the next year. The Government of Canada’s goal is to fund cost-effective programs that prevent and reduce crime in vulnerable communities by reducing the influences and underlying factors that may lead an individual to commit a crime.