New sport opportunities fund designed to help Keep Kids Out of Crime
Community organizations in Manitoba will get sports equipment and vital facility upgrades as part of a new Strategy to Keep Kids Out of Crime. This announcement was made by Children and Youth Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief. The minister said the strategy comes out of months of consultation in which he listened to people in communities, large and small, across Manitoba.
“Thousands of Manitobans from different backgrounds and all regions of the province came out to share their stories, concerns and ideas,” said Chief. “Everywhere I visited I heard about the importance of providing positive options and opportunities to kids no matter where they live. I am working with our community partners to keep focused on those priorities.”
As part of the five-point strategy to Keep Kids Out of Crime, the province today launched a $500,000 Sport Opportunities Fund, which will give more young at-risk Manitobans the opportunity to get involved in sports and find healthy and positive after-school and weekend opportunities, Chief said.
The minister said community-based sport and recreation organizations will be able to apply for grants that will increase sporting opportunities for high-needs youth and communities with:
• up to $10,000 for permanent equipment such as volleyball standards, goal frames and athletic field line painters; and
• up to $2,500 for equipment with a shorter life span such as volleyballs, pucks and uniforms.
“We all share a responsibility to keep children and communities on the right track,” said Lawrence Mulhall, executive director of the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre. “I am happy to have been part of the consultations that led to this new strategy. I look forward to playing a role in making the future brighter for all our kids.”
Consultations leading up to the development of the strategy included public meetings in Winnipeg, Brandon, Dauphin, Morden, Norway House, Thompson and The Pas, and 18 stakeholder meetings with municipalities, First Nations leaders, law enforcement, faith groups and youth-serving organizations.
Chief said ideas and comments from the meetings resulted in five points that will be the focus of Manitoba’s Strategy to Help Keep Kids Out of Crime:
1. Strengthening the Early Years and Schools
Research shows that when children are given a strong start in early life by supporting positive parenting and early childhood education, communities can be safer by preventing crime for years to come.
2. Creating Youth Opportunities
Youth is a time of possibility. The strategy builds on the foundations of the early years of life and school by creating opportunities to help youth prepare for positive and productive futures.
3. Supporting Recreation and Healthy Communities
After-school recreation programs offer promising approaches for crime prevention. Along with other community activities, they provide structure, supervision and skill building to promote youth success outside of the classroom and in the community.
4. Promoting Mental Health, Preventing Substance Abuse
Families, caregivers, educators and service providers all have a role to play in ensuring the mental, spiritual and physical wellness of families and communities.
5. Safer Streets: More Beat Cops, Better Correctional Facilities, Tougher Laws
A stronger justice system, including an enhanced police presence on the streets, continued investments in correctional facilities and more robust consequences for those who commit serious crimes is crucial to keeping families and neighbourhoods safe.
“This strategy will enhance our efforts to prevent youth crime and youth victimization in rural Manitoba,” said Chief Superintendent Scott Kolody, acting commanding officer for RCMP “D” Division. “Providing kids with recreational opportunities encourages them to engage in positive activities.”
“Manitoba’s Strategy to Keep Kids Out of Crime will build on previous successes in the area of crime prevention,” Chief said. “The province’s one-of-a-kind Turnabout Program provides consequences and supports for youth under the age of 12 who have come into contact with the law. The Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy has reduced auto theft dramatically since its introduction in 2004 and Winnipeg’s rates of auto theft are now the 10th in Canada, down from highest in the nation.”
To learn more about Manitoba’s efforts on crime prevention and youth opportunities and to apply for to the Sports Opportunities Fund, visit www.gov.mb.ca/cyo. For more information on the five-point plan, visit www.gov.mb.ca/kidsoutofcrime.