Community Stories:

Innisfail - Partnerships for Youth Engagement

 In March 2018, a youth forum was held in Innisfail. RCMP, Family Community Support Services (FCSS), Chinooks Edge School Division and Alberta Health Services (AHS) Addictions and Mental Health hosted focus groups to explore youth’s perception of life in Innisfail. A number of perceptions emerged, many of which were not positive, that led these partners to form a coalition to reframe these perceptions in a more positive light.

A coalition was quickly mobilized and recognized under the AHS Addictions Prevention Unit. FCSS applied for the Addictions Prevention Unit Community Capacity grant and the community was awarded $5000 to increase collaboration between community partners and build community capacity. With increased collaboration, the hope is that supportive environments will be created and sustained to enable youth to be active participants in community life. There is a strong focus on building positive assets in these youth, such as volunteerism, generosity and healthy boundaries.

The Plan

The FCSS Community and Social Development Coordinator engaged unique community partners to think outside the box. Currently, the multi-sectoral coalition is made up of members from FCSS, the RCMP, Alberta Health Services Health Promotion and Addictions and Mental Health departments, Chinooks Edge School Division (with representatives both from the division and local schools), Careers: Next Generation, the Town of Innisfail recreation department, St. Marguerite Catholic School, Youth HQ, youth justice and Royal Lepage. The group is currently in the process of inviting youth to the table.

The Outcomes

The RCMP representative has taken on the chair role and everyone is working towards a common goal. Ultimately, that goal is to have a physical space for the youth of Innisfail to use as a youth center with staffing to support programming. Royal Lepage is assisting with identifying vacant property in the area. The group is very forward thinking and there is tons of positive energy.