Two 32 Division police-youth groups had the opportunity to tour the CN Tower recently.
The youth groups are part of a partnership between officers and diverse communities in their Division.
Officers with the assistance of community partners, parents, elders, Imams and teachers identify youth who are in need of mentoring and guidance. Officers will work with the identified youth through mentoring and counselling while building relationships.
Constable Azadeh (Azi) Sadeghi, of 32 Division, initiated a female-based mentoring group, which is supported by ProAction Cop and Kids, allowing young women to partake in a safe and nurturing group where they learn life skills needed to make positive choices.
Our mission is to increase awareness among youth groups and to become role models for other female youths within the community. This community includes priority neighbourhoods, which have been plagued by drug, gun and gang violence that has a negative impact on the community, especially the youth. The recent event being the homicide of a well-known teacher and mentor Abshir Hassan in Lawrence Heights.
In an effort to strengthen relationships, build safer communities and renew trust between Toronto Police Service and the community, 32 Division Community Response Unit officers believe it is crucial to engage the youth by mentoring positive behaviour. Young women are participating in sports, mentoring sessions, and interacting with role models from the community who share their visions and aspirations.
“We need more interactions between police and youth that do not involve investigations or arrest but are based on relationship building,” said Sadeghi.
“A positive approach has been established through one-on-one interaction by 32 Division officers,” said Constable Marta Mierzwinska, another officer who is assisting Sadeghi with this program.
One of the youth participants Kim said the program has been an eye opener.
“I have been able to meet new people that have made me a better person. I hope many more girls my age join this group so they can experience the same fun as I did," Kim said.
Meanwhile, Constable Mir Lodhi and fellow Neighbourhood Officers started “Discover Toronto”, a program that focuses on youth in the Lawrence Heights and Neptune Drive communities. Officers, in partnership with the Toronto District School Board, work with counsellors to identify at-risk youth in local schools.
Officers have engaged all community partners to assist with the selection process for this initiative. The four Neighbourhood Officers engage youth by taking them to various cultural sites in Toronto, including the CN Tower, The Royal Ontario Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium, the Ontario Science Centre and Casa Loma. By doing so officers believe that sharing Toronto’s proud heritage with the youth would be a great initiative to keep Toronto the best and safest place to be.
Both groups visited CN Tower and explored the downtown core.