Eastside Aboriginal Space for Youth (EASY)

Program snapshot

Age group: Adolescence (12-17); Young adult (18-24)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Gang-involved (and/or at risk)

Topic: Gang and/or related criminal activities

Setting: Urban area; Community-based setting; Recreational/sport-based setting

Location: British Columbia

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention

Brief Description

The Eastside Aboriginal Space for Youth (EASY) program, otherwise known as Creating Healthy Aboriginal Role Models (CHARM), is a program designed to provide socio-recreational and life skills development programming for Aboriginal youth who are most at risk of gang involvement.

The program is centered on community mobilization; conflict resolution; counselling and social work; family therapy; leadership and youth development; skills training; and social emotional learning.

Goals

The main goals of the EASY program are to:

  • Increase the awareness of Aboriginal youth at risk of joining gangs of the negative impacts of gang involvement by matching these youth with experiential adult mentors who have first-hand knowledge regarding realities of gang membership;
  • Foster honour and respect of traditional Aboriginal culture; and
  • Increase alternatives to the gang lifestyle.

Clientele

The appropriate clientele for the EASY program are Aboriginal youth between the ages of 14 and 21 who are at high risk of gang involvement.

Participants are referred to the EASY program by organizations such as the Vancouver Police Department, the Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, and Youth Probation.

To participate in the program, youth must be of Aboriginal descent living in Vancouver.

Core Components

The EASY program consists of:

  • Late night resource (LNR) and outreach program: Late night activities are offered to over 30 participants per night from Wednesday to Saturday each week. Attendance at weekly workshops is a mandatory condition of participation. The workshops cover both personal and professional development, including anti-violence content;
  • Sports-related activities: Youth are given the opportunity to participate in sports-related activities, particularly basketball. Teams practice twice weekly and participate in a year-end tournament with other Aboriginal youth across Canada. Youth who wish to be considered for the basketball team must demonstrate motivation to work on personal skill development and commitment to adhere to a code of conduct; and
  • Community forums: Four full-day community forums are offered to family members and key supports of participants on the basketball team and the LNR program. Each program has two forums per year. The objectives of this service include creating awareness in the community about the dangers of becoming involved in gangs, exploring factors which place Aboriginal youth at risk of becoming gang-involved, identifying prevention strategies, and setting the stage for healing.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The lead organization must have solid skills in outreach, intake and assessment, case planning, and program delivery.
  • Partnerships: The success of the EASY program depends on its many partnerships with the Vancouver Police, probation services, and school boards.
  • Training and technical assistance: Staff must be trained on how to work with youth who have special needs (i.e., Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder).
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy provided funding to implement the EASY program between 2008 and 2012 in Vancouver (British Columbia). The EASY program has been implemented by the Vancouver Police Department.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

As part of Public Safety Canada’s funding, an outcome evaluation studyFootnote1 of the EASY program was conducted in 2010-2011 by Van der Woerd. A single group design with pre- and post-test measures was used to evaluate the EASY program.

Results from this evaluation showed the following:

  • The majority of youth (n = 18, 90%) attended the EASY program every week. Forty percent (40%) of youth who participated in the LNR component stated that they did so to hang out with others, while 20% of youth who participated in the LNR component stated that they did so to prevent behaviours such as substance use or criminal activities; and
  • The Developmental Assets Survey generally demonstrated a positive acquisition of the developmental assets between time one and time two, except for empowerment, constructive use of time, and commitment to learning. Staff also noted a perception of positive changes in youth behaviours, such as reading more and expressing less anger.  

For more information, refer to Van der Woerd’s (2011) publication.

Cost Information

No information available.

References

Van der Woerd, K. (2011). Evaluation of the Eastside Aboriginal Space for Youth Program. Final Evaluation Report. Submitted to the National Crime Prevention Centre, Public Safety Canada (Unpublished report).

For more information on this program, contact:

Vancouver Police Department
2120 Cambie Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 4N6
Telephone: (604) 717-2990
Website: http://vancouver.ca/police/  


Record Entry Date - 2018-02-22

  1. 1

    A process evaluation study of the program was also conducted through Public Safety Canada’s funding. For more information, communicate with the Research Division, Public Safety Canada.

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