Australian Federal Police Western Central Command Protection Operations officers in Alice Springs are aiming to make a difference in the local community by supporting a youth leadership program for at-risk teenagers.
The Making a Difference program, which starts today (Tuesday, 20 October 2020), is a partnership between the AFP and G Training Health & Fitness gym for students from Centralian Middle School.
Twelve students, aged 12-14, will take part in the program, which will run for eight weeks. It includes fitness sessions as well as discussions on respect, resilience, positive relationships, and anger management.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Chris Craner, from Western Central Command, said AFP members are part of the local community and want to help young people realise their potential.
“Some students may need extra support to stay at school or build self-confidence, while others have experienced trauma, are at risk of offending or have been offending, and would benefit from the program.”
For years, Assistant Commissioner Craner has been involved in and seen the benefits of youth-police engagement.
He realised there was an opportunity for officers in Alice Springs to engage with local youth, after a recent trip to the area with AFP Deputy Commissioner Brett Pointing.
Assistant Commissioner Craner said AFP Inspector Ken Napier and his staff in Alice Springs are willingly volunteering their time to help G Training Health & Fitness run the new program.
AFP Acting Commander Central Gail McClure, who joined students for the first session today, said the AFP wants to build positive relationships between law enforcement and young people.
“We want to help children to develop their leadership skills and disrupt any potential for negative behaviours,” she said.
Gym owner Steve Gardiner said the school suggested students for the program but those children had to accept the opportunity to take part.
“Most, if not all young people in Alice Springs are at risk of experiencing trauma due to daily criminal activities in Alice Springs,” Mr Gardiner said.
“This program aims to improve young people’s knowledge of Respect, Resilience and Relationships so they can engage better in education, the community and at home.
“We hope this may even encourage some of the youth to see the AFP as a potential career option.”