The RCMP in Richmond, British Columbia and the Rick Hansen School Program
are working together to empower students and build social awareness in local schools as part of an innovative new partnership project.
To kick off the three-month pilot project, which began in January, RCMP officers and student leaders from Cambie Secondary School received mentorship training from the Rick Hansen School Program.
The police and high school students then presented the Rick Hansen Difference Maker Program to four classrooms at Mitchell Elementary School. The young students learned the definition of a Difference Maker: an ordinary person who accomplishes extraordinary things by creating positive change in his or her community and in the lives of others.
They also learned about teamwork, communication and goal setting, after which they had a chance to put their new understanding into practice.
Experiential, hands-on learning
Each class discussed the needs that they could identify in their community and decided on a Difference Maker project; for example, one group decided to clean up the garbage in King George Park. Once the projects were identified, the kids got busy, and the RCMP officers and older students pitched in as well.
At the end of the project, students presented final reports on their Difference Maker projects, the impact it had, and skills they had learned as a result of participating.
They were rewarded with an inspiring presentation from Staff Sgt. Baltej Dhillon and a vigorous basketball game with their RCMP mentors – a great way to celebrate the importance of making a difference and staying healthy.
The elementary school students were clearly thrilled by the presence of the older kids and RCMP officers in their classrooms. All of the students learned some key skills, but the most important lesson was that they can all make a positive difference in their local communities.
Celebration and recognition
The same pilot project will be delivered in partnership with two other Richmond schools, McMath Secondary and Lord Byng Elementary. When that’s concluded, students from all four schools will be invited to celebrate at an event with members of the local community, the RCMP and the RHF.
The pilot project has been selected as one of the Governor General's projects as part of the 2015 Year of Sport campaign, to be profiled across the RCMP and Federal Government. The project will also be featured as an example of best practice in youth engagement and crime prevention in a cover story published by an international policing magazine in the summer of 2015.