We recently shared the story of the incredible VPD Women’s Personal Safety Team and how they responded to a community request to tailor their program to accommodate a group of visually impaired people.
We asked Kerry-Anne Horgan of the WPST how it went. She said it was amazing. The group was so friendly and helped the entire WPST team see self-protection and empowerment from a different perspective. They are now incorporating those learnings into the traditional program.
The team used Zoom to deliver a two-hour virtual program that covered topics such as situational awareness, intimate partner violence, and legal rights to defend oneself, proactivity and de-escalation.
Matt Salli, who initially reached out about a modified program for the Dogwoods group, said that they more than doubled the attendance of one of their typical meetings. The responses he received by phone and email about the program were overwhelming.
Matt believes that it is a combination of factors that makes the WPST program so powerful – the fact that it is delivered by police who can provide real-life experience, the legal framework, and instruction that is down-to-earth. Added to that is the passion, empathy and humour that the instructors all have in abundance, and he believes that “you couldn’t get a better group to do it.”
The program was such a success; Matt is keen to work with the WPST members to deliver similar modified programming to other disability groups, including one for the hearing impaired. He remarked that these VPD programs are essential and help make our community better and our residents safer. Having gone through it now, he couldn’t be a stronger advocate for the WPST and the VPD in general.
We’re not surprised.
Each year (sadly not this year), the VPF hosts a workshop for friends and supporters, and it “sells out” in minutes. Coupled with the amazing instructors and the timeliness/importance of the subject matter, it’s extremely popular and well-attended.
The WPST is looking to leverage technology to deliver more modified workshops this year and can’t wait to get back to the in-person programs.
The Foundation is grateful to the First Light Foundation for its generous support of this program for the past several years.
You can ensure vital community programs like WPST can continue, by making a donation today.
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The Vancouver Police Foundation supports programs and initiatives that fall under one of four pillars: Youth Programs, Mental Health & Addictions, Community Outreach & Engagement, and Technology & Special Equipment. You can help build a safer Vancouver by donating to the Vancouver Police Foundation.