The seminal Roots of Youth Violence report, and many other studies, have concluded that police enforcement is just one piece of the puzzle in curbing gun and gang activity amongst young people. Experts cite inequality, poverty, systemic racism, and a lack of opportunity as primary factors influencing whether a teen picks up a gun or chooses a better path in life. Safe spaces that provide better options for vulnerable young people will support families, create safer communities, and save lives.
Youth Spaces are:
Supervised spaces that are open to youth 5-6 days a week. There are currently 10 in operation. These spaces have stuff like WiFi, TV, gaming consoles, foosball tables, pool tables, computers, recording studios, photography labs, and study spaces. Free programs include photography, barbering and hairstyling, yoga, DJing, and music recording.
Safe space in the library for all youth, ages 13-19. There are currently 11 in operation. Youth can spend time doing homework with tutors, hanging out, playing board or video games, and participating in events, programs and workshops. Many of the activities make use of the technology that the Youth Hub owns, including laptops, digital cameras, DJ equipment, and Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. Activities include: Gaming, Homework Help, Employment resources, De-stressing activities, and special workshops such as financial literacy, poetry, writing, video editing, health and wellness, and dance.
The City currently has 23 existing youth spaces (in grey) that provide a comfortable environment for activities, homework help, and access to trained youth outreach workers. But there are many gaps across the city creating unequal access to these programs.
By adding an additional 18 programs in existing community centres or at a Library branch, almost every child will be within a 2km (roughly 24 minute) walk to a publicly run program.