FORT FRANCES, ON – Project Sunset is an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) youth-centered engagement strategy taking place in North West Region. The Project is a ground-breaking crime prevention strategy, coupled with a third-party process and impact evaluation, a first of its kind in support of community safety and wellbeing in CanadaThe OPP is committed to turning creative ideas into actions. We are using new approaches to help solve complex policing challenges which also promote open communication, respect, and collaboration between all impacted stakeholders. This involves a basic change – a paradigm shift – as we move from more reactive policing practices towards proactive programming to strategically support youth, our communities and necessary system reform.
What is Project Sunset?
Project Sunset is about building sustainable community partnerships to identify innovative solutions that proactively address root causes of youth crime, social disorder and crisis. (www.projectsunset.ca)
“Leadership is an OPP core value and as a strategic priority, it can come from anyone, at any level, in any role”, says Sgt. Anne McCoy, Special Projects Coordinator. “Above all, leadership is about caring for people, both within the OPP and the communities we serve. Project Sunset is modeling leadership with a new strengths-based approach designed to support youth, our community and our members.”
Project Sunset offers a year-long experiential learning model called Project Venture (PV), designed by the National Indian Youth Leadership Project (www.niylp.org). As an evidence-based model, PV is proven to address root causes of substance misuse and related problems. The five components include:
- After School
- Music/Arts and Culture
- Community Service Ethic
- Police Athletic League
Project Sunset combines the proven PV model and couples it with the strength of police engagement. Police are identified as one of the only stakeholders within a community, required as part of their daily responsibilities, to cross service agency silos in order to help them address challenges. The Project works to develop meaningful relationships with youth as well as their circle of supports. Consistent hours of healthy alternatives work to build trust and foster information sharing, helping the team identify potential barriers impacting youth participation (ie. lack of resources available to youth, level of buy-in, family support challenges, accessibility, etc). The team can then strategize how to address barriers and pull in needed resources with access to the police extensive network of community stakeholders. Furthermore, the police offer engagement and problem-solving expertise indispensable in building bench strength. Bench strength then leverages the impact of deliverables.
For more information about how the Project work, or discover how to become involved, please check out the Project Sunset website at www.projectsunset.ca.