A fairly new program in Steinbach has helped 28 high-risk youth become productive citizens who are no longer engaged in harmful activities.
Brenda Brown is the Program Coordinator for Headway, she says the program really got going in January of 2016 and is a collaboration of local services.
"Youth can be referred to us by anyone, and we've had some youth refer themselves to our program which is great, as well as parents, the school, and probations. From there, our screening committee decides whether or not the youth meets our criteria and decides if we can help them."
Brown says a support team is created around their clients in order to help them stabilize. Most of their clients are involved with RCMP, and many of them are either involved with mental health, or need to be referred to mental health, and many of them have addictions that have not been addressed.
She says one of her clients has really struggled with RCMP involvement, and although they would like to turn him away from RCMP involvement completely, they would also like to prevent him from getting into more serious crime. And since coming into the program, Brown says he has had a significant decrease in crime related offenses, which she adds is exceptional.
Brown adds, "There have been studies done on what the cost saving would be of an at-risk youth, from perhaps a lifetime of substance abuse, unemployment, and crime, and the cost is about 1.5 million dollars. It might be more at times, it's enormous. So we really see the Headway program not only as helping kids get off a rough path, but to also prevent them from getting even further down the road."
Because of regular supporters and a generous community, Brown says they will have the ability to keep working with families and keep serving our community. "We do come from an incredible community who is very generous and willing to get alongside programs like this one. Our hope really is that the community as a whole will be changed by Headway being able to prevent these kids from making poor choices and really help them to be thriving, happy, and healthy."