Liberty for Youth

Transcript

Narrator:

Liberty for Youth developed The Champion Series targeting boys on probation who are primarily involved in gangs. The series includes programs which teach youth the consequences of their actions, how to give back to the community and reunites and strengthens relationships with their fathers or positive male role models.

Fernando Gugman:

Youth Worker, Liberty for Youth: You know what really warms my heart about it is just seeing these kids change. Seeing them go to college, seeing them, you know, find their purpose and their dream and realized you know that hey, I can do this.

Fernando Gugman:

Hey, what's going on? Nice to see you bro.

Tanya Dryden:

Director of Development, Liberty for Youth: Right now Liberty for Youth is engaged in a series of programming. We have three programs. Uplay, Raising a Champion and TMF Hood.

So, this series of programming is really to create opportunities for youth in conflict with the law to make better decisions.

Frederick Dryden:

Founder and Executive Director, Liberty for Youth: Through this Champion Series, our focus is to create opportunities for youth in conflict with the law to make positive choices. And the goal is for them to reduce their chances of reoffending or getting involved in gang activities or other delinquent activities.

We wanted to start a program like this because definitely there is a need. One in four youth in Hamilton live in poverty. Because of that lifestyle, a lot of youth are involved in gangs and criminal activity, so there is definitely a need.

The typical kind of youth that goes through our program are someone like maybe a Crown ward, who their mom may be deceased, or an addict, and the father is incarcerated, or MIA, missing in action, unknown.

Tanya Dryden:

Director of Development, Liberty for Youth: One of our innovative approaches in this program is actually not just to program the youth themselves, but to go into their family and reconnect them with their fathers.

Frederick Dryden:

Founder and Executive Director, Liberty for Youth: If not fathers, our mentors or role models, so they get an understanding that they do need some male figure. And also it propels them to realize that there is a need for them to be there for their future family.

Fernando Gugman:

Once you are 18 and over.

Tanya Dryden:

Director of Development, Liberty for Youth: Part of our project is to reach out to organizations that are not traditionally engaged in working with at-risk youth, which the college would be one of them. So, how can we get at-risk youth to believe they can go to college and then actually make the call and make the application?

We've partnered with the police services, and we've partnered with the YMCA. We've also partnered with John Howard, which is a great organization in our community, Elizabeth Fry. There's so many. And you need to partner with other organizations to provide the most holistic programming for the youth to meet all their different needs because one program can't do everything for a youth.

Fernando Gugman:

So what were you saying Carlos?

Frederick Dryden:

Founder and Executive Director, Liberty for Youth: In our Champion Program, what's really exciting, we have youth that plan community events and projects with the police officers, sometimes their arresting police officers. And it's very exciting just to see youth working with law enforcement.

Clifford Simon:

Youth Worker, Liberty for Youth: The Uplay Program is a program where we basically put the youth in the position of the victim and we utilize role-play.

Clifford Simon:

Give me a little bit of time man.

Frederick Dryden:

Founder and Executive Director, Liberty for Youth: Someone who was thinking of starting a similar program, I'd definitely advise for them to have a diligent board and develop a relationship with your funder prior to starting off a project like this and, if possible, partnership with your local police, probation, other local government ministries. And definitely finding a mentor organization that has executed projects similar to this, or as such.

For us as an organization, we are somewhat working 24 hours a day, so we have cell phones where you can call us and if you don't respond to an immediate need, sometimes you lose the entire work you have done over the past year.

Tanya Dryden:

Director of Development, Liberty for Youth: One thing I really recommend is to implement an evaluation plan. Hire a professional evaluation consultant team. What an evaluation team does is transfer all your successes, your weaknesses, your strengths, they put them on paper and give a funder the number that they need to see to know if they should continue funding you, donating to you, sponsoring you.

On-screen Text:

The Champion Series pilot project received funding through the Youth Justice Fund Guns, Gangs and Drugs Component.

©Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada, represented by Justice Canada, 2011.

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