Our own Denise Blair was awarded the 2012 Alberta Crime Prevention Award by Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security. Her dedication to youth crime prevention comprises over 15 years.
Denise has been extensively and integrally connected from the very inception of Youth Justice Committees in Calgary in 1996. Since that time, Denise has provided the leadership in establishing and maintaining 25 committees in Calgary with approximately 300 volunteers. From the beginning, Denise chose to locate the root of youth justice committees in Calgary communities themselves. Her work has given the Committees a unique opportunity to take specific ownership of the difficult situations that the youth and families are facing and to give them the tools and resources to allow the young people to become contributing and positive team players in the communities and in this role, to make a difference.
More recently, Denise gathered together a team of local experts to develop and launch In the Lead, an innovative leadership development and coaching/mentoring program geared to build resilience in young people who are vulnerable for engaging in high-risk behavior. Through her work in youth justice, she recognized that not all young people with strong leadership abilities are easy to spot. “Many young people, who face challenges and obstacles growing up, develop characteristics that can be the foundation of great leadership; but too often, they are overlooked in favor of peers who are displaying their potential in more conventional and obvious ways,” notes Denise.
Denise’s passion has made a huge difference in the city and to the youth justice system.