Paddy Peters wants to read positive stories from his community.
The chief of Pikangikum First Nation said there has been a lot of negative media attention on his community in recent years, a lot of it focused on youth. Reading stories of substance abuse and suicides, those children ask their parents why the community is being portrayed like that.
"They begin to feel sad. They begin to feel disappointed," Peters said. "Something positive should be said. These kids are great. These kids have a future."
Peters is hoping Project Journey, a five-year multi-million dollar effort from the OPP and funded by the National Crime Prevention Centre, can help children in Pikangikum realize that future.
The first of its kind in Ontario, the project will launch programs from sports to community clean-ups to leadership development to try and get youth 6 to 18 to stay in school, stay away from drugs and out of criminal activity. It will also help the relationship between police and community members, something Peters said has already started improving.
OPP Northwest Region commander Ron van Straalen said the project has been in the works since 2009. Officers in Pikangikum were looking for a way to give back to the community and help kids there. This project will do that as well as bring together other community partners from elders to health workers.
"To make a difference," he said.
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