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MKWA

Police Mkwa Opportunity Education Circle is a partnership that was formed to create learning opportunities for Aboriginal, including
First Nation, Métis, and Inuit, students living in the City of Greater Sudbury and surrounding area who may wish to pursue a career in the justice sector. It also serves to establish meaningful relationships between students and police officers.

This program and initiative was developed as a result of a recommendation by the Aboriginal Community/Police Advisory Committee (ACPAC). It was decided that a Police/Aboriginal youth initiative was needed to specifically address trust issues between the Aboriginal community and the police.

The Police Mkwa Opportunity Education Circle has been extremely successful in achieving its goals. As of 2009, 141 Aboriginal youth have participated in the program, and 116 police officers have lined up for an opportunity to participate as mentors. The philosophy behind the Police Mkwa Opportunity Education Circle is simple: we must be willing to work together.

For more information on the program, visit Mkwa.

"I have never really had the chance to sit and talk with a native person (separate from police involvement). I really enjoyed his history and feeling encouraged that he wants to make a difference."
- Mentoring Officer

"I never believed, that in my lifetime, I would see Native youth and the police together in a supportive and caring manner."
-Aboriginal Elder mkwa.jpg

"I thought this whole MKWA program was a huge success, I loved it. I would hope that this program moves on and expands. This program in my opinion would have to the greatest program to ever hit Sudbury. Too many young people have busted their "butts" to get this program off the ground. And in closing I would like to say that I hope this program continues and I 'really really' look forward to taking part in the next step."
- Student

"A lot of Native youth have a negative view of police officers, and this program gives the youth an opportunity to see the behind the scenes work that officers do."
- Student

"Coming into this program, my view of police work was based on what the media and personal influence, like my family, has told me. I now know the complexity of the profession. I have a better understanding of the teamwork involved, of the community interactions, the importance of thoroughness and procedure. All of these factors are what I now know are important in the work all of you do.
"This program and its implementation are crucial to the relationships that must be built between students and public safety. A lot of Native youth have a negative view of police officers and this program gives the youth an opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes work that officers do.
"My father was a police officer and the Mkwa Program gave me an understanding of what he did on a day-to-day basis. I would like to say meegwetch to everyone involved in making this program a success, and I wish you all a continued success in the next years. Meegwetch!"
- Daniella Homer, Grade 12, Lively District Secondary School

mkwa (3).jpg"I have had an opportunity to be involved in other youth activity programs and have yet to have seen one have such a positive impact on the people involved as the MKWA Opportunity Circle has had on me. The students that have participated brought so much energy, passion and shared such heartfelt emotions, that one cannot stop from building a bond and commitment to this group of young individuals that represent our future. I'm proud to have taken part in something that will significantly impact the future of policing by both educating the police in cultural aspects and providing career opportunities to the young participants."
- Sergeant

"In the world of education there are countless programs that are intended to meet the needs of the students as they move along on their chosen paths. During my tenure as a classroom teacher, guidance counselor, coordinator, school administrator and finally as student success leader I was blessed with opportunities to work alongside people who were youth-centred, so when I speak of MKWA it is from years in the field. MKWA was the coming together of so many people knowing it was time to provide a mentoring situation that would positively impact on the lives of aboriginal youth.The Elders were clear in their direction of what was needed, police services agreed a partnership was required and the educators were invited to the table. This truly is a circle for the learning is woven as each individual involved is both a teacher and a student."
- Student Success Leader