"I FELT LOST IN LIFE. There was something in my life that was just missing. I know everybody talks about it, but that’s what happened to me too. There was something missing in your life, and you feel empty, and the reason why I got into fighting was trying to fill that stuff too. To become a man, I thought it would make me full,
but it didn’t."
The Identity-Based Wraparound Intervention (IBWI) project aims to restore and strengthen positive identities of high-risk and gang-involved youth, and foster stronger connections to their families, schools and communities. The project involves integrated services and support, as well as ongoing research, evaluation and public education.
The IBWI project, hosted by the Faculty of Social Work and based on research by Hieu Van Ngo, PhD, brings together researchers and community partners to develop an innovative approach to youth gang prevention. It is a collaborative response to the changing demographics in Canada, and to our research-informed learning that gang-involved youth from immigrant communities have experienced unraveling of self-concept, identity, citizenship and overall sense of belonging due to multiple, traumatic life experiences at home, at school and in community.
"NOW I LIVE BY EXAMPLE, I turned my basement and garage into a gym and started training the neighbourhood kids. I see the joy in their eyes and I teach them discipline and to respect their parents, and how important school is, and how important it is to be a leader, not a follower."
Through coordinated services and support provided by the Centre for Newcomers, Calgary Police Service and more than 24 service and community organizations, high-risk and gang-involved youth from immigrant families receive culturally appropriate counseling, mentorship, academic support, employment and life skills support, and pro-social activities.
This project is funded in part by Public Safety Canada.