BMC’s Gang Prevention & Intervention Program, New Direction, focuses on providing support to youth who are at-risk/involved in gang related activities. Youth ages 12 – 20 years old are engaged through client-centered and solution-oriented counselling, life skills and employment readiness workshops, mentoring and tutoring sessions, to ensure they remain out of the criminal justice system. Guided by a network of significant individuals in the youth participant’s life, BMC utilizes the “Wrap Around” approach to collectively provide encouragement and support to youth and help them achieve goals to contribute to their holistic development and sustain learning outcomes.
Funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services the program is guided by the priority outcomes identified in Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario’s Youth Succeed and is aligned with the recommendations from the Roots of Youth Violence report. The Program is offered in two components, “Prevention and Intervention”.
The prevention part of the program if offered through life skills workshops focusing on self-esteem, anger/conflict management, goal setting, personal awareness, healthy relationships and the importance of staying in school. Designed according to the needs of the audience and delivered in various schools and youth serving agencies in Peel, the objective of these workshops is to strengthen critical thinking skills amongst youth through interactive activities and provide them with meaningful learning experiences which they can utilize in making better decisions for themselves.
The program also offers intervention services where a youth is referred into the program and works one-on-one with their youth counsellors. The prevention part of the program is more specific to youth who are involved or are at risk of becoming involved in gang related activities. Due to the nature of the intervention program and to maintain the safety of all participants, all the intervention sessions are conducted one on one with the youth and not in a group setting.