PACT Youth Crime Reduction Program

PACT Youth Crime Reduction Program

January 12, 2006 10:39 ET

YOUNG OFFENDER COOKING PROGRAM LAUNCHES ACROSS YORK REGION

PROGRAM DESIGNED TO FIGHT YOUTH CRIME AND SUPPORT COMMUNITY HEALING THROUGH FOOD - Toronto Kitchen Retailer provides funding for program Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Education Editor, Food/Beverage Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 12, 2006) - The PACT Youth Crime Reduction Program, a charitable organization that deals with youth crime and court backlogs in the GTA, and across York Region, today announced it has expanded the hugely successful PACT Main Course Cooking School, a community service program for youth in conflict with the law. The school will expand to include youth from across York Region this month - January, 2005.

The parent PACT program, a Restorative Justice mediation program for offenders and victims, has been successfully running out of the York Region Youth Court in Newmarket, Ontario since 2004.

Lack of Effective Community Service Programs in York
There is a need for youth in conflict with the law to perform community service. But to have a positive impact, community service programs need to focus on skills development and teamwork. There is a scarcity of quality community work programs for young offenders in York Region. As an element of each PACT justice sentence, there must be restoration to the community to help heal and ensure social change not just for offender and victim - for the whole community.

How it works
The cooking school is run by former chef Terance Brouse, using a large community kitchen space in Newmarket. We allow youth charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act an opportunity to learn about nutrition, shopping, and food preparation over a six-week period culminating with the chance to create a meal for someone in their community that could use the friendship and warmth.

"Cooking is a good model for the challenges and processes that these youth will face in life," says Terance Brouse, PACT Community Service Director. "Following a recipe, following the process of cooking, prioritizing and task completion are great examples for the challenges we all face in life."

Junk Food Culture
"Young people that eat junk food all the time are going to have negative effects on their body chemistry," said Brouse. "The junk food culture affects not only the way today's young people end up looking and feeling, in terms of health, but the way they end up feeling in terms of mental health. There's no doubt in my mind that there is a link between nutrition and self-esteem - between nutrition and a youth's propensity for getting in trouble."

PACT provides a skills-based learning environment with a strong community-service aspect. In addition to referrals through its main Restorative Justice mediation program (known as Resolution Conferences) PACT is designed to take referrals from Probation, Crown attorneys and Judges, and inquiries from duty counsel.

Skills Learned
* Teamwork
* Nutrition
* Organization
* Time Management
* Shopping affordably
* Cooking for one
* Cleanliness
* Food Safety (contamination risks)

Toronto Kitchen Retailer provides funding for program
Marjorie Agnew, owner of Toronto specialty kitchen store, The Main Course, provides the funds to run the PACT Main Course Cooking School. PACT has have been blessed with Marjorie's Social Entrepreneurship - Marjorie has donated $10,000 annually as well as her passion for food and volunteerism.
"We hope to continue to expand this school based on the needs of youth and the courts," said Marjorie Agnew. "York Region has a quickly growing young population, especially in the southern cities of Markham, Vaughan and Richmond Hill."

Food helps community heal
The Main Course cooking school launched in February 2005, and has given dozens of at risk youth an opportunity to learn some basic food skills, such as nutrition, organization, time management, shopping affordably, cooking for one and food safety.
At the end of each six-week course, there is a community service contribution. The Main Course and PACT bring in people from the local senior community, give them a night out and a prepared meal. The youth will plan, shop for and cook the meal.

About PACT
PACT (participation, acknowledgment, commitment and transformation,) is a program designed to decrease the burden on the courts, while dramatically reducing youth crime. It does so by positively changing the behavioural patterns of young offenders who have been charged and convicted of criminal acts. Visit PACT at http://www.pactprogram.ca.

PACT has created innovative community service programs for youth including The PACT Main Course Youth Cooking School, The PACT Youth Film School, The PACT Urban Reforestation Project (for 2006) and the PACT Farm in the City (upcoming).

About the Main Course

For over 20 years the Main Course has been known as one of the finest kitchen and tableware stores in Canada; we offer quality cookware, fine kitchenware, bakeware, small appliances, and the largest and most diverse selection of table linens in Canada. http://www.themaincourse.ca.
/For further information: Contact
Terance Brouse
PACT YOUTH CRIME REDUCTION PROGRAM
Work (905) 832-7653
news@pactprogram.ca

/ IN: EDUCATION, FOOD, JUSTICE, RETAIL, SOCIAL

Contact Information

  • terance Brouse, Community Relations, PACT Youth Crime Reduction Program
    Primary Phone: 905-832-7653
    E-mail: tbrouse@pactprogram.ca