LWB Group hopes to close a gap

The 2013-2014 Leadership Wood Buffalo cohort is diving into a variety of action learning projects.  Back when I participated in the program in its inaugural year, these case study projects were largely looking back on community initiatives, challenges and successes that had already happened.  Over the years, this component of the program has evolved several different ways, dealing with more timely and relevant issues, and in some years including a community giveback element.  From the very beginning, the process of working in teams toward a collective purpose has served to teach invaluable lessons about community leadership, collaboration and overcoming challenges.

Team GRANT has chosen to focus on restorative youth justice as their action learning project, organizing a conference around this theme in 2014 as a catalyst for getting the program up and running in our community.  As a conversation starter and as a way of engaging interested volunteers, they are encouraging people to attend a meeting on Thursday, November 28th at 4:30 pm in the Redpoll Centre on Franklin Avenue.

If you're passionate about youth, and interested in working with them to successfully reintegrate into the community after coming out of the justice system, this meeting would be an excellent entry point to potentially getting involved.

Hosted by the Manager of the Restorative Youth Justice Program for the Province of Alberta, this session will provide an overview of the program, following by some training as to how the program can be set-up and run.

"This meeting will give those who have a passion to not only see that our young people are restored to the community after an incident with the law, but actually take an active part in the process," said Greg Scarborough, a member of Team GRANT and the Chief of Bylaw Services for the municipality.

"It is about building community and providing Fort McMurray with what would be common in any other city in Canada."

Joining Scarborough on the action learning adventure aimed at closing a youth justice gap are Angela Krszwda (Director of Operations, GardaWorld), Raheleh Mehraban (Senior Analyst at Syncrude Canada Ltd.), Tara Clarke (Executive Director, Fort McMurray SPCA) and Nicole MacMaster (Corporate Sales Manager, Hertz Car and Truck Rental).

They each have their own reasons for being a part of this 8-month community leadership program, reasons that support their choice to focus their time, talents and energy on helping to facilitate the launch of a program that will reconnect young people who have made poor choices, with their community, and a brighter more productive future.

"My passion is my work," said Krszwda.  "And I am interested in promoting Wood Buffalo as a nice community to come to, not only to work, but to live a good life with lots of opportunity."

"My passion is my family and their well-being, which goes hand in hand with my community's well-being," shared Mehraban.  "I'm proud of living in Fort McMurray and would love to help improve it so that everyone living here can be proud of calling it home, too."

"Collaboration, community and education," are on the top of Tara Clarke's passion list.  "Public engagement, program development and delivery - process and progress inspire me."

"My passions are youth, education and constantly trying to improve myself," said MacMaster.  "I'm also passionate about my community and inspiring others to feel the same."

"I love this community," shared Scarborough.  "I have a desire to give back in a meaningful way.  Good neighbourhoods don't just happen."

If you want more information about Team GRANT's restorative youth justice project, you can send them an email at GRANT_WBRYJ@live.com.

Leadership Wood Buffalo is an eight month program for individuals who are passionate about making a difference in the Wood Buffalo community. Designed to help participants acquire both a broader understanding of the critical issues affecting our community and the leadership skills necessary to resolve them, this program helps prepare participants for the challenges of their own life-long leadership journeys, build their network of diverse community leaders and develop their awareness for the opportunities and challenges in the Wood Buffalo Region.

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