The Kwantlen Polytechnic University-led youth violence and gang prevention research project has been recognized for its contributions to the community.
During a meeting with the RCMP, Acting Together – a Community-University Research Alliance (AT-CURA) project that researches how to effectively reduce youth involvement in violence and criminal gangs – was surprised with a Challenge Coin and certificate of recognition from the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit-BC (CFSEU-BC), the province’s integrated anti-gang police unit.
“This certificate is a significant milestone in our collaborative journey,” said Dr. Gira Bhatt, principle investigator and director of Acting Together, who accepted the award alongside Roger Tweed, co-investigator and lead researcher for academic studies. “It reflects the acknowledgement of academic-community partnerships which are at the foundation of our collective efforts to protect our kids from starting down the dangerous path to the criminal world.”
“CFSEU-BC is extremely proud and fortunate to have a partner like Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s AT-CURA program as we continually look for innovative and creative ways to reach out to communities across B.C. in our efforts to prevent and reduce gang-related violence,” said CFSEU-BC spokesperson Sgt. Lindsey Houghton. “This small token of our appreciation pales in comparison to the significance that their work represents in terms of an academic foundation for our initiatives.”
Earlier this year, AT-CURA was chosen by Senator Kelvin Ogilvie as one of seven taxpayer-funded research projects operating in Canadian universities that have demonstrable benefit to the lives of children and youth.
Late last year, the group was honoured with a Crime Prevention and Community Safety Award by Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton for outstanding contributions toward crime prevention and community safety.
Acting Together received a CURA award of $1 million from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada in 2009. Since then, the project has worked to identify factors that protect youth from violence and gang involvement, and develop community strategies that build off of those findings.
The KPU-led project has been a champion and leader of collaboration between service agencies, community organizations, government and academic institutions in the region for over five years.