Dianna Bennett of the John Howard Society and Marilyn Shand of Child and Family Services were recognized by the Red Deer RCMP for their work and leadership efforts with local youth. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

RCMP recognize local organizations for their work with youth

John Howard Society and Child and Family Services were honoured during a presentation Thursday

Red Deer RCMP has recognized two community organizations for their collaborative efforts with local youth.

Representatives from the John Howard Society and Child and Family Services were honoured during a presentation on Thursday.

“Today we are here to recognize the work of two key partners. Red Deer RCMP has a strong focus on youth, on preventative work with them and of trying to divert youth from the criminal justice system,” he added.

“That work involves close collaboration with the John Howard Society and Child and Family Services. Today, we are here to recognize them,” said Red Deer RCMP Supt. Ken Foster.

Corp. Karyn Kay said Dianna Bennett of the John Howard Society has been instrumental in getting the Red Deer detachment onboard with restorative justice with local youth.

“The time and the development that she puts into these (restorative) circles and the restorative programs she puts together does not go unrecognized here at the Red Deer detachment, ” said Kay. “She meets with all of the participants’ families, victims and community members to make sure the circle will be helpful for everyone,” she added.

“She also facilitates the circles, and invites the police to work in partnership with her sharing the same goal of harm reduction,” she said. “We couldn’t be more proud of the partnership that we have.”

Kay also said that Marilyn Shand of Child and Family Services is a strong leader who helps to make sure that when RCMP work with youth and their families, they are providing the best support possible to those families.

“There is no doubt that Marilyn gives all of the youth she works with an opportunity to thrive and succeed,” said Kay. “She offers supports and referrals, and she is there to push her youth, to hold them accountable, to hold the families accountable, and to help them reach their full potential,” she said.

“We want you to know that your commitment does not go unnoticed.

“You answer every phone call, you answer every email. Just that there is that opportunity that we can pick up the phone and brainstorm. You are a sounding board, so we thank you for everything that you do.”

Shand noted that the relationship with the RCMP is, ‘Huge because we can get to the youth faster, we can think outside of the box, we can use harm reduction. Just that whole collaboration is very, very helpful.”

Meanwhile, Foster added that there are some 35 different community and government organizations.

“As we approach the end of Red Deer RCMP’s 75th anniversary of serving the citizens of Red Deer, it seems important to take stock of where we are, check that our goals are on track and pay special attention to the community partners that work so willingly and tirelessly alongside the RCMP for the health and safety of our community,” he said.

“We sit on boards, we work as part of coalitions, we are at a lot of tables collaborating with an incredible number of partners including schools, immigrant support groups, downtown organizations, organizations working in the field of domestic violence, sexual violence, crime prevention, mental health, probation, parole and so many more.” he said.

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