For the fourth year in a row, the Durham Regional Youth In Policing program hosted its Ripple Effect Youth Forum on July 26 at Milestone Community Centre in Ajax. Youth In Policing students from Durham, Halton, Rama, Brockville, York, Toronto and Gananoque were in attendance, along with teens from the community.
The Ripple Effect is an open forum that DRPS hopes will inspire young people to make a positive impact in their community. Just as one drop of water can cause a ripple, one person can make a difference and inspire change for many.
Deputy Chief Scott Burns welcomed the students and started the day with a moment of silence for the victims of the tragedies in Norway. “One of our principles of the program is to think and reflect globally,” he said. “We need to honour and respect those victims who lost their lives.”
He also encouraged the youth to go back to their schools, communities, families and friends and make changes in their lives. “I am not saying that it is easy; it takes courage for you to find your voice and to take action to make that change, but it is your choice to act or speak up. Cause your own ripple effect.”
Students in attendance had the opportunity to participate in three workshops which encouraged leadership and communication skills. The Harmony Diversity Training workshop brought forth issues such as influences from the media, stereotypes and discrimination. Guest speaker Victor Rampaderat, who specializes in motivating youth from at-risk communities, hosted a workshop teaching the youths how they can turn anything in their lives from a negative situation, to a positive one. The third workshop was focused on Police and Youth Issues where topics on bullying, alcohol and drugs were discussed with DRP officers and civilians.
A line-up of dynamic guest speakers were also on hand to engage the youth. Dwayne Morgan, a spoken word artist, encouraged students to have respect for women and to live everyday as if you were dying; Chris D’Souza, an educator who focuses on equity and inclusiveness and author of two books including “Why are all Taxi Drivers…”, and Ray Zahab, featured in the documentary film ‘Running The Sahara’, produced by Matt Damon and directed by Academy Award winner James Moll, who ran across the desert in an effort to raise awareness for the drinking water crisis in Northern Africa.
The forum was a great success and it was our largest turn out ever with over 340 people in attendance. DRPS hopes to continue running this event for many years to come!
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Deputy Burns welcomes the students (JPG file, 150.5K bytes)
Motivational speaker Victor Rampaderat engages the youth with his story (JPG file, 141.9K bytes)