The Making of the Dear Self Video Project
With the influx of gang related incidents and violence in Thunder Bay it has become very apparent that steps need to be taken to help ensure the safety of our community members. As a result, a collaborative approach was taken to help support individuals in our community that are at greatest risk of being victimized or impacted by gang activity. Awareness and education on the realities of what is going on in the community, the outlining risk factors and protective factors as well as signs to look out for will help students, educators, parents and community members work together to build a healthier community.
With funding support from the Ministry of the Solicitor General – Proceeds of Crime Front-Line Policing Grant Program – Project Prevent has been a collaboration of the Thunder Bay Police Service and the following community partners:
- Our Kids Count
- John Howard Society
- City of Thunder Bay – Community Safety and Wellbeing Council
- Lutheran Community Care
- Elizabeth Fry Society of Northwestern Ontario
- Norwest Community Health Centres
- Kairos Community Resource Centre
One aspect of this project was to develop some messaging to help reach and educate youth who may be at risk of being impacted or recruited into gangs. In order to better understand this lifestyle, we sought out individuals with life real life experiences being recruited into gang life. They have shared their stories and inspired a series of video that will serve as a foundation to building a presentation to help educate. The way Jessica & Kyle vulnerably told their stories and shared their truth is truly awe inspiring and has made this project so special.
The collaboration with spoken word poet Wali Shah to help create a piece to capture their combined experiences was exceptional. This piece will be used to try to connect with youth and to get them thinking about the impact of the choices they make.
In September 2021 we brought spoken word poet Wali Shah in to shoot the video with our friends at Generator. We decided to utilize his talents to conduct a number of writing workshops at various schools in the community. We connected with Hammarskjold KZ lodge students, 2 classes at Matawa Learning Centre, the grade 7 &8 students at Westmount School as well as collaborated with DFC student which inspired 2 performances by students on stage at Wake the Giant with Wali. Here is a little taste of what those crazy three days looked like and how this project came to life.