Over $8 Million Towards More Than 150+ Innovative Programs
To date, the VPF has granted over $8 million towards 150+ innovative policing and community crime prevention programs which are not included in the annual operating budget of the VPD. This page highlights a few of the programs we have supported and the impact our investment is making in the community.
Last fall, approximately 150 students, staff, and counsellors from high schools throughout Vancouver attended Youth Connect at the Roundhouse Community Centre. The day-long symposium was created to provoke thought and promote dialogue among high school students about issues such as consent, diversity, healthy relationships, personal responsibility and safe dating. Trained facilitators led students through 45-minute interactive workshops throughout the day.
More than 45 sworn and civilian police members were involved in the event, including staff from Youth Services Section, Special Investigation Section, Victim Services Unit and Diversity. Sixteen members of the Women’s Personal Safety Team led workshops for female students. Students from 15 Vancouver secondary schools participated in the event.
The Vancouver Police Foundation granted over $6,000 for this event.
Lunch with the Chief
The Foundation funds the very popular and successful Lunch with the Chief series. Hosting upwards of 80 – 100 members from the community, this unique project has had a significant impact on relationships between VPD members and Downtown Eastside community and business members. These lunches work to address safety and security issues – Downtown Eastside residents are able to share their experiences in a neutral, fair environment and discuss what they see, hear and feel while working and residing in the community. Improved relations and an increased sense of confidence in the police are essential factors in addressing the overall safety of these communities. The Lunch with the Chief initiative continues to be an excellent tool in providing the opportunity for community members to forge stronger relationships with the police. The lunches take place four times a year – by providing an informal platform for engagement, participants are able to share in food and conversation, breaking down established barriers of communication and having meaningful, positive interactions in a neutral environment. This is a marquee program for the Vancouver Police Foundation and we are proud to fund this initiative.
Here4Peers: Students helping students with mental well-being
A new youth-led mental health program, created by the Vancouver Police Department, will ensure that more than 1,000 Vancouver students will be armed with information and support about mental well-being this year, thanks to their fellow students.
Funded by the Vancouver Police Foundation for the initial five years, this innovative pilot program is being delivered to Vancouver’s youths in partnership with: the Vancouver Police Department, the Vancouver School Board, the Canadian Mental Health Association Vancouver – Fraser Branch, Vancouver Coastal Health, and the City of Vancouver.
Here4Peers is a youth-driven, mental health awareness initiative, involving teams of specially trained high school students presenting interactive workshops to Grade 6 and 7 students.
“Young people often turn to their peers first when they are facing personal challenges. Using trained and supervised ‘peer’ facilitators is an effective way to engage and remove the negative perceptions regarding mental health,” says Here4Peers Program Coordinator Ashely Currie. “Students entering high school often experience stress and anxiety.”
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (2017), one in three Canadians will experience mental health issues in their lifetime, and 50% of all mental disorders begin by age 14.
These statistics are “too high” according to trained Here4Peers facilitator and Grade 12 student Shyree Hans. “I hope my involvement in the program will provoke more education and support from our school hallways to our communities.”
The 80-minute workshop uses multi-media, interactive games, as well as small and large group discussions, which fits the prescribed learning outcomes for mental wellbeing as part of the BC Ministry of Education Grade 7 Physical and Health Education. The goals are to reduce stigma, increase awareness of mental health issues and coping tools, and improve access to resources.
The youth facilitators of Heer4Peers are not just delivering workshops – they are helping create the content and taking care of the finer details, like choosing a name and creating a logo for their program.
“We are unique because we’re youth talking to youth,” says Steph Barrantes, a Grade 12 Here4Peers facilitator from David Thompson Secondary, who values the power of young people being on the front line of program delivery. “For them, we are what they will become. To see us talking openly about mental health and letting them know that it is okay to talk about, makes a huge difference. We are using our influence to our advantage in the best way possible.”
To date, 70 Here4Peers facilitators, from Vancouver Technical, Killarney, and David Thompson secondary schools, have been trained. They have delivered workshops in 29 Grade 6 and 7 classrooms, and have already reached approximately 800 students.
Heer4Peers will expand to include facilitators from seven high schools in the 2018-2019 school year, delivering the workshop to 2,400 students. It will continue to grow to reach all Vancouver schools by 2022, at which point the Canadian Mental Health Association will take over the delivery and funding of the program.