At the Calgary Police Service, we know that if you get to kids early, give them the foundations of resiliency, and help guide them toward a positive path, we can create stronger communities for our future. By addressing things like unhealthy choices and relationships, bullying, online safety, drugs, and gang activity early on, we can help children avoid negative influences in their life. It is never too early to start thinking about and having these important discussions with your children. Through partnerships with the community, we are committed to assisting with this by delivering different crime prevention, education, and intervention programs targeted at children and youth.
The YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre gives us the opportunity to do just that. Together with YouthLink, we are able to facilitate hundreds of interactions between police officers and kids in our community. These interactions help us build relationships with kids and show them that we are someone they can trust and ask for help when needed. The relationships that we foster with children and youth today can have an immeasurable impact on the community in the future.
Through YouthLink, children and teenagers are encouraged to make the right decisions to avoid crime and victimization. The Centre’s mission is to provoke youth to confront the issues of their time, make positive life choices, and become responsible citizens in their community. These are vital skills for youth as there is no doubt that the challenges and pressures that they face today are vastly different from generations before them.
YouthLink is also a great resource for you to learn about the issues your kids may come across. By learning about things like drugs and gangs, you can be more informed and prepared to have that conversation when it becomes necessary. Oftentimes kids have already learned some things through their friends or the media, so it’s important that you’ve also done your research and are able to dispel any misinformation they have. Having these conversations can be extremely stressful for parents. The best approach that parents can have is in an open and frank manner, which is often much easier to do if you know what you’re talking about and are sure the information you have is credible. If your children see you as a knowledgeable source of information, they are more likely to come to you with questions.
YouthLink is open to the public and admission to the facility is free. In July and August (2017), YouthLink will be open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Roger Chaffin is the Chief of Police for the Calgary Police Service.
Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2017 Calgary’s Child