The Beginnings of About Face

I began my career with the Calgary Police Service in 1979, retiring from 27 years of active duty in 2006. I have spent the last five years as the full time coordinator for the About Face Program.

The About Face Program began its journey in 2003 while I was working for Chief Hanson in the Chief’s office. He came to me one day and said “I have a letter from the Federal Justice Minister (which had been sent to all Canadian municipal Police Agencies) which says we have too many kids going to jail in Canada and we need municipalities to come up with programs to help our young people avoid incarceration. I need your help”.

In my many years as police officer, working in the trenches, I had often witnessed young people making bad decisions. Getting involved with the wrong types of friends and making poor choices was leading them to criminal activity resulting in a criminal record. I had always had a real passion for kids and with my experiences of coaching youth football, I knew inside I was in a position to make a difference and help these kids.

I knew that kids needed to be educated on the effects of crime, but I also realized it needed to be more than that. I interviewed several youth agencies to partner with me in creating the program, but only one agency, Impact Society, had the “right stuff” that I knew young people needed to hear if they were going to be successful in life.

Impact Society believes, as I do, that deep inside every young person are gifts & abilities and an inherent desire to succeed. But sometimes life throws obstacles and challenges, and walls are put up around those gifts & abilities.  Life is then lived from the confinement of the walls, instead of what truly identifies them, their gifts & abilities. Many times as a police officer, I saw kids making bad choices because of their walls so I knew how important it was to help them recognize who they really are inside and the importance of believing in themselves. If these teens could grow in confidence and character and use their gifts & abilities in a positive way, it would change the direction they were heading and lead them to a life of success, rather than one of crime.

As a result, the About Face program was created and the Calgary Police Service partnered with Impact Society to deliver an informative, dynamic, inspiring program that helps young people believe in themselves so they can move forward in life with confidence, character and integrity.

Young people who make right choices, despite their circumstances – lead themselves to a life of success, being positive contributors in their home, school and community.

Written by: Dave Harty, About Face Coordinator

If you are a school in the Calgary area and would like to book this year’s one-hour, complimentary assembly on the Power of Words, please contact [email protected]. The Power of Words covers such topics as the actions of bullying, social media, as well as the impact our words have; building ourselves and others up, or tearing them down.

There is also a free four hour interactive workshop held for youth the last Saturday of every month that encourages them to accept responsibility for their actions, develop their character and make better choices. For registration call: (403) 428-8288 or email [email protected]

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