Funds fuel crime prevention

The province is investing $20,000 in a crime prevention program aimed at helping Ottawa youth get a handle on their anger.

“We have long waiting lists and we have lots of young people who are at risk, who have been kicked out of school or involved with the courts,” said Carlington Community Health Centre’s executive director Mike Birmingham.

“Keeping It Cool” is an intensive, community-based program that runs at 14 centres across the city.

Geared at youth 12-to-18-years-old, the money will help the centre run about six 10-week sessions this year, helping 30-40 more local teens.

The participants are mostly boys, whose issues range from extreme absenteeism to being suspended for arguing with peers and teachers.

“We also recommend students who may be at risk in the future and we attempt to provide solutions for them before it goes that far,” said Tim Strauch, a guidance counselor at Notre Dame high school.

The program is now being offered in schools, for one-hour sessions once a week.

Over 80 Notre Dame students have benefited and Strauch said many graduates of the program are now mentoring their peers.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

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