YOUCAN Youth Services' Step Up and Step In program is a grassroots initiative that focuses on youth engagement, youth leadership and youth empowerment and is geared toward the prevention of youth violence and criminal activity in Edmonton. To accomplish this, YOUCAN Youth Services Youth Workers work with youth on a diverse variety of activities and events designed for two streams: the community and the schools.
Step Up and Step In aims to:
- Re-establish and/or further develop relationships between youth and their communities
- Create a shift in which youth are viewed as positive resources in their communities, rather than liabilities
- Reduce and prevent youth violence through youth involvement in positive, youth-led school and community initiatives
Step Up and Step In encourages and empowers youth to:
- Participate in civil society
- Establish their identities through discovering their capabilities, skills, strengths and talents
- Create ways in which they may be offered second chances as a result of past mistakes due to misguided choices of judgment
Offered within several Edmonton Public Schools, the program works to address, reduce and prevent the incidences of student violence, harassment and bullying. The school stream activities include working on an individual and group level with the entire student body, staff teams, students at-risk for crime and violence, as well as training staff and students in leadership skills, conflict management and peace building skills.
Our School Stream offers a variety of support to the students and staff at these schools including:
- Student Leadership Development
- Peacemaking Circles
- Peer-to-Peer Mediation Training
- Student-led Peace Building Conferences
During the 2012-2013 school year the Step Up and Step In Project will impact the student populations in: Queen Elizabeth Sr. High, Brittania Junior High, ME Lazerte Sr. High, Ross Shepard High, Balwin Junior High, JD Bracco Junior High, Steele Heights Junior High and Rosslyn School.
Providing an informal forum for youth-to-youth dialogue opportunities and resource sharing regarding the impact of youth violence, the Community Stream focuses on working with youth volunteers (between the ages of 12 and 21) and providing them with opportunities to discover their potential and assist in creating an inclusive identity that is based on civic membership. In general, youth base their identities on the new roles they try, the peers they associate with, the environments they are exposed to and diverse life experiences. Through participation as a volunteer, youth will have opportunities to be trained in a variety of skills. They will work collaboratively with young people from a variety of cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds, and will feel a sense of empowerment in the new skills they learn. Furthermore, the youth volunteers will plan and host youth-friendly activities, forums and fundraisers, as well as an annual International Day of Peace Open-Sky Music Festival.
Currently Step Up and Step In offers a weekly youth-for-youth gathering every Wednesday evening. The young people engage in a variety of community building activities, which are designed to address, prevent and reduce youth violence in Edmonton. Youth volunteers will engage in:
- Youth Civic Engagement & Positive Citizenship Development
- Media Arts Development Training
- Youth-for-Youth Community Building Activities
- Peace Building & Conflict Management Training
- Leadership Development