Written by Laurie Bowen, Professor, Communications
The first-year Communication students from the Police Foundations program at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, Ontario, have been learning about active listening and non-violent communication, racism, prejudice, white privilege, and empathy training. The majority of the class decided to take what they learned on paper and apply it in real life. Words without action are meaningless, after all.
They participated in the walk for Truth and Reconciliation that was held on the Brockville campus in the fall, where they learned about the Residential School System. They were able to show their support for their Indigenous friends. After the walk, we shared a meal and it was here that a student from the Mental Wellness and Addictions program told us about the need for volunteers at the free after school program run by RNJ Youth Services at Stingers Indoor Paintball.
The interior of the former Zellers store has been transformed into a fun and safe centre for kids to practice baseball and pitching, basketball, pickleball, squash, soccer, table tennis, badminton, and tennis, create amazing art or sing and play instruments in the Music Room run by Willy Stevenson. The always popular laser tag is the highlight for the grades 7-12 students that come in droves every Tuesday at 2:30 until 5pm. Inside, they will be greeted by the most genuine and kind man and the organizer of the event, Jeremy Conway, along with his wife and son. Every week they provide healthy snacks and pizza for the youth, some who haven’t eaten at all that day.
I have encouraged my students to continue their volunteering in the New Year, I know that I will! This is exactly what is needed in every community so that young people have a safe place where they can let off some steam, have some fun, and get fed.