What does being relentless mean to YOUCAN Youth Services? How does YOUCAN Youth Services support at-risk youth through living the philosophy of relentless youth work? To YOUCAN Youth Services, being relentless means having a “whatever it takes” attitude when it comes to building relationships with at-risk youth in the community.
YOUCAN Youth Services' Relentless Youth Outreach Workers stop at nothing — within reasonable measures — to reach out to youth and empower them in making positive, healthy and life changing decisions. Transformational relationship building is the main tool that Relentless Youth Workers employ and therefore aim to build long-term relationships with the youth as they move through the Stages of Change model with the goal that they will eventually live self-sufficiently and out of harm's way.
In YOUCAN Youth Services Relentless project, specially trained, mobile teams of Relentless Youth Outreach Workers travel to community hot spots where at-risk youth gather. These Relentless Youth Outreach Workers operate to carry out "interruptions with a purpose", which is to connect directly with youth and build trusting, meaningful and long-term relationships with them. Simultaneously, the Relentless Youth Outreach Workers are able to support youth in accessing various community services that will meet the needs and wishes of each individual youth.
The Relentless Project aims to:
- Reduce the incidents of disruption and crime by at-risk youth who gather in community hot spots.
- Increase attendance of at-risk youth in school or day programs, as well as pre-employment or employment programs.
- Reduce factors among at-risk youth and their families that can cause harm.
- Increase the factors among at-risk youth and their families which can move them toward success.
The Relentless project addresses:
- School factors, including low commitment to school, poor attitude or performance in school (if attending at all).
- Family factors, including poor parent-child relationships, broken homes, separation from parents or low supervision.
- Peer group factors, including gang affiliation or the influence of peers who engage in risky behavior.
- Community factors, including low neighbourhood attachments.
- Individual factors, including defining one’s identity through violence.
- Societal factors, including alienation and poverty.
The Relentless Youth Outreach Workers Project builds on and complements existing resources and services in the Edmonton community, including:
- Setting up opportunities to join patrols of ETS security officers in transit stations and the LRT, City of Edmonton Corporate Security and Edmonton Police Services members at community hot spots, and security staff at local shopping malls.
- Liaising with the Edmonton Youth and Transit Project and identifying and then connecting with at-risk youth who can benefit from relationship building.
- Working closely with other youth-serving agencies in determining appropriate referrals for at-risk youth to other services, as well as accepting referrals from these other agencies.
Ultimately, the Relentless Youth Outreach Workers model a proactive and intensive approach to connecting and building relationships with at-risk youth. Working actively with strategic partners and other youth-serving agencies, this project informs and then transforms the way in which at-risk youth are engaged.
For a printable version of Relentless Youth Outreach Workers click here.
Thank you to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation for funding to help provide a Relentless Youth Workers for the Verto Project.