WrapED: Helping Young People Get Out and Stay Out of Gangs
Wraparound Edmonton, or WrapED, a partnership of six Edmonton organizations working together to help young people affected by violent crime move away from the threat of gangs and learn to thrive in our community. The six WrapED partners integrated services, using a collective impact approach to bring the most effective supports to some of Edmonton’s most at-risk youth. The initiative was one of 14 selected by the federal government out of 168 proposals from across Canada. The federal government funded WrapED until September 2018.
Africa Centre Edmonton John Howard Society
Edmonton Police Service EPS Native Counselling Services of Alberta
REACH Edmonton YOUCAN Youth Service
Throughout the last year, Africa Centre worked with approximately 20 youth while also supporting other partner organizations with their caseloads. Africa Centre staff worked with 35% of the total number of Y-50 youth in the WrapED project. Y-50 is a strategy developed by EPS to identify the 50 most vulnerable youth in Edmonton.
Last year also saw an addition of the Youth in Music and Poetry (YMP) that gave WrapED youth an avenue to explore their creativity and an opportunity to explore their previously unexplored/undiscovered skills and interests and a platform to express them.
Africa Centre’s success working with high-risk youth stemmed from its staff’s delivery of care grounded in its four pillars; African Identity, Empowerment, Integration, and Community Engagement & Unification. Staff also mobilized resources such as Wisdom Keepers Circle, YEGTheComeUp, Youth Mentorship Program to add to its successful participation in the project. Youth in the Africa Centre caseload expressed regaining and reestablishing a sense of identity and culture through the many culturally appropriate activities that they participated in through the centre. Many youths have gained and retained employment and are living stable lives and continue to check-in with staff. Africa Centre has also maintained continuity of care through its Community Safety program, ASE, conceived as a result of Africa Centre’s participation in WrapED.
Despite the closure of the project, youth have remained in contact with Africa Centre staff; they constantly call when experiencing issues such as suspension, expulsion, arrests, fear for their safety or conflict with parents and caregivers. They have adopted the Africa Centre as a haven and have expressed their intentions to continue to reach out whenever they face challenges.