Maskwacis RCMP are training and connecting community groups in Ponoka who work closely with families.
Called “Community Hubs”, the program has seen some success, explained Mounties who run the program in Maskwacis. Seeing the program do well prompted the Ponoka Youth Centre (PYC) to begin the program. It’s similar to a youth coalition the centre created a few years back but with a bit more opportunity for community groups to work together.
Teaching the program was community resource officer Const. Morgan Kyle of the Maskwacis RCMP. She works in the community response unit in Maskwacis where four Hubs have been created, one for each nation. It’s a way to collaborate and provide more efficient services to residents, explained Kyle, who added that Ponoka RCMP will be working with the Ponoka Hub once training is complete.
“The reason why we started instructing this training is because there was a definite need for community Hub tables and community collaboration,” said Kyle.
As much as these programs are needed, the cost of training from a consultancy firm can run about $20,000, said Kyle. The training coming from RCMP is free.
“The benefit…is we start the Hub table today,” explained Kyle.
“We’re going to actually be starting our Hub discussions on real situations in the community.”
From a preventative stand point, this program is intended to reduce crime, and the victimization that comes with it, explained Christall Paul, the criminal intelligence analyst at Maskwacis RCMP.
In 2012 the Samson Cree Nation had many of its members at risk with regard to crime and high school absenteeism, which created a need for these Hubs. Kyle said Samson leaders travelled to Prince Albert, Sask. to investigate a Hub program that had already been created and implemented.
“Because of the crisis that they were in they just started it up,” said Kyle.
“A lot of it is just the agencies are finding out where they can make referrals to, what the agencies provide and how they can have families or individuals being provided a better service.”
Within that program also gives organizations a chance to see what’s being missed.
“We can track our success through this program,” added Paul, pointing out that once the Samson Cree Nation started its own Hub, the three other nations saw its success quickly.
She pointed out that what has been happening is the number of referrals have dropped because people are now connected to the right services and they are coming out of crises.
Beth Reitz, executive director for PYC, is pleased with the depth of the Hub program and she looks forward to bringing additional supports for Ponoka families. “It’s hoping to be proactive rather than reactive,” said Reitz.
A special training session with a variety of Ponoka agencies was held Oct. 3 at the First Baptist Church with a focus on learning how the system works, but also to find out about the different services that are available to families and children. More than 20 agencies took part in the training.
Reitz suggested if any groups in Ponoka would like to be part of the Hub to contact the PYC.
There are seven Hubs spread throughout Alberta, including in Wetaskiwin and in northern Alberta.