MLA Laurie Throness has thrown his support behind the popular Youth Inclusion Program, by asking the federal government to continue funding it.
The federal funding for YIP will dry up in July this year, and the program’s manager Adam Palmer has been appealing to local politicians for their support. Along the way, he managed to earn the support of Throness.
He said the proximity of two major institutions to Agassiz translates into a higher need for programs that are proactive for at-risk youth.
“I believe the more we engage people before they hit the criminal scene, the better off they will be, as well as the community,” Throness said. “Prisons bring with them a vulnerable population.”
As the prisons are federally-funded, Throness added it’s appropriate that the same government fund programs that can encourage young people to stay out of jail.
YIP is a referral-based, recreational program for eight to 18 year olds that has been operating for almost five years. It was set up as a pilot project, one of 13 across Canada. It is partially funded from the National Crime Prevention Strategy, which the government calls a “plan to tackle crime in order to build stronger, healthier communities.”
There hasn’t been word yet on whether the program will continue after the pilot has run its course this summer. Many local youth are involved with the program, for varying lengths of time. In the past, the group has focused on healthy recreation activities. In late 2013, the group released a short film they had produced over the course of about 18 months.
YIP is run with the help of Agassiz-Harrison Community Services, and both communities have shown their support for the program as well.