We are extremely proud of Constable Michael Bal – he is the founder of the new mental health program “Here 4 Peers” which is funded by the Vancouver Police Foundation, as well as another initiative funded by the Foundation (Project Breakaway). It is officers like Constable Bal who truly make a profound impact on our youth and we are so honoured to be a part of his accomplishments. Congratulations Constable Bal!
Re-printed from The Police Chief Magazine (September, 2017 issue): Michael Bal Constable Youth Service Section, School Liaison Unit, Vancouver Police Department, British Columbia Age: 29 CONSTABLE MICHAEL BAL was first drawn to law enforcement by the stories of his father, a former Royal Hong Kong Police officer, who instilled Constable Bal with an appreciation for self-sacrifice and service. The young man’s attraction to law enforcement was reinforced in high school by a liaison officer who taught Constable Bal the great impact that an officer can have on a community and its struggling youth. From the very beginning of his career, Constable Bal worked passionately to protect and foster youth by using empathy and compassion—and Twitter, on which he has more than 1,000 followers. He is inspired by the desire so many young people have to positively affect their communities.
He received the City of Vancouver Citizen of the Year award in high school for raising several thousand dollars for the Cops for Cancer foundation and for creating a service club. Then, after graduating, he volunteered to raise funds for Camp Phoenix, a summer camp for impoverished youth. A skilled crisis negotiator, Constable Bal was inspired by his experiences in the field to promote mental wellness in youth, so he partnered with a school counselor to establish a mental wellness club for students to help shed the stigma around mental illness. This initiative, funded by the Vancouver Police Foundation, has developed into a partnership between the Vancouver Police Department, Canadian Mental Health Association, Vancouver School Board, and Vancouver Coastal Health and intends to bring mental wellness workshops to every grade seven class in Vancouver.
Constable Bal was also one of two Canadians selected to serve as a U.S. Department of State Youth Ambassador Mentor, a role in which he helped youth in the program develop and implement service projects in regions across Canada.