Last week, BGCBigs, the YMCA and the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) hosted a press conference at the Boyle Street Plaza to announce and celebrate vital funding support from Homeward Trust Edmonton and the Government of Alberta. This important funding will enable all three charitable organizations to continue operating the partnered program DIVERSIONfirst.
Through the DIVERSIONfirst partnership, YMCA Youth Diversion and BGCBigs work with EPS to help direct youth away from the criminal justice system by intervening before they are criminally charged. These programs help support vulnerable youth to be accountable for their actions and find a positive path forward.
BGCBigs was very proud to have one of our own DIVERSIONfirst participants, 15-year-old Nate, speak at the event. Nate shared his story of making a bad choice but then working with the DIVERSIONfirst team to make positive changes to amend for that mistake and experience positive personal growth. Today, Nate is an avid boxer who is taking a lot of enjoyment in learning a new sport and skill.
Liz O’Neill, Executive Director, BGCBigs: “We see the impacts of this program every day with the young people we work with—they forge positive relationships, build self-confidence and start to envision a brighter future for themselves that they might not have been able to see before. We’re grateful to Homeward Trust Edmonton and the Government of Alberta for seeing the value of this important work.”