The PLUG Project aims to curb suspensions, expulsions and dropouts among at-risk youth
The federal government has devoted just over $1 million in funding for a project aiming to reduce crime and violence by keeping at-risk Ontario youth in school.
Given that research shows that keeping young people in school helps to prevent violence and criminal behaviour leading to incarceration in juvenile institutions, the PLUG Project seeks to lower the number of suspensions, expulsions and dropout rates among Black students in the Scarborough neighbourhood in East Toronto and in the Rexdale neighbourhood in Northwest Toronto.
The project is carried out by the TAIBU Community Health Centre and financed by the National Crime Prevention Strategy’s Crime Prevention Action Fund. Member of Parliament for Scarborough North, Shaun Chen, announced the government’s investment in the project on behalf of Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair.
Chen complimented the community organizations involved in the project, stating that they would help young people in Ontario by “offering culturally responsive services that support healthy relationships, life-management, and decision-making skills in community settings.”
Liben Gebremikael, executive director of the TAIBU Community Health Centre, said that, aside from keeping at-risk youth in school, the project also seeks to address structural and institutional anti-Black racism, as well as to support the academic endeavours of such students.
Apart from TAIBU, other important contributors to the PLUG Project include Rexdale Community Health Centres, Legal Aid Ontario and the Toronto District School Board. The project seeks to support 300 young people over five years.
“The PLUG Project holds great promise for healthier and safer communities that better support those most at risk, and empower those best-placed to help,” said Gary Anandasangaree, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Crown-Indigenous relations and member of Parliament for Scarborough-Rouge Park.