SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Peter Silva, Kevin Jackson, Jessica Qiu, Dana Gardner, Dan Stolts

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Let's Keep Children Safe This Summer: CCFC and FYI Join Forces to Prevent Violence and Exploitation

MARKHAM, ON--(Marketwired - July 15, 2014) - Summer is a great time for children to get outdoors and have fun. At the same time, being on the streets puts children and youth at risk of engaging in, or being a victim of, violent crimes. To help keep children and youth safe, Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC) has launched a campaign called "Free from Violence and Exploitation."

As part of the campaign, CCFC, an international child-centred development organization that helps marginalized children of all faiths achieve their potential, is collaborating with Toronto-based For Youth Initiative (FYI). Together, the two organizations have come up with a list of safety tips to help children and youth enjoy a safer summer vacation.

Five safety tips for children and youth:

  1. Never go anywhere with someone you don't know and trust
  2. Think about the options and consequences of your actions
  3. Stick with friends who are against violence and drugs
  4. Respond to confrontations with your head -- not your fists, threats, or weapons
  5. Report crimes or suspicious actions to your parents and the police

CCFC and FYI both engage in creating leadership opportunities for vulnerable youth and empower them to create better and brighter futures for themselves.

In the Las Torres community of Managua, Nicaragua - known for drug-related violence and fights over gang territory - CCFC supports a youth group called United Youth Thinking and Taking Action (JUPAC) that is helping children ages 13 to 23 engage in positive activities and educational opportunities.

"This anti-violence prevention program engages youth in organizing community events, sports leagues and sessions on child rights, advocating on violence prevention, and it provides a safe environment where children and youth can learn and play, and also gain skills to succeed in life," says Mark Lukowski, Chief Executive Officer, CCFC.

A video about JUPAC is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYBbW2YyFUg.

According to a recent report developed by the For Youth Initiative Youth Anti-Violence Task Force, From Analysis to Action: A Collective Approach to Eliminate Youth Violence in Toronto, the average age of youth charged with violent crimes is 17, and the educational attainment of young offenders newly jailed for the most serious sentences is grade seven. Positive intervention programs are critical to help at-risk children and youth reach their full potential.

CCFC is advocating with governments around the world, including Canada, to explicitly include reduction in violence and exploitation of children as a key priority of the United Nations' post-Millennium Development Goals to reduce global poverty. CCFC is leading the Canadian component of this campaign and is asking Canadians to sign a Free from Violence and Exploitation petition and to share the petition link with family and friends: http://freefromviolence.org/take-action/. More than 50,000 signatures have already been secured; the goal is to achieve 100,000 by September 30, 2015.

CCFC also recently launched an animated video explaining the organization's child protection policy: http://www.ccfcanada.ca/child-protection-policy.html

About Christian Children's Fund of Canada
Christian Children's Fund of Canada is a member of ChildFund Alliance, a worldwide group of 12 child-centred development organizations working in 58 countries to implement long-lasting and meaningful changes for children and families. For more than 50 years, CCFC has been helping children and families of all faiths move from poverty to self-reliance. CCFC supports children and communities in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nicaragua and Paraguay. Currently, CCFC has over 50,000 children sponsored, benefitting more than 500,000 people around the world.

About For Youth Initiative Toronto
For Youth Initiative provides programs and services to teens and young adults living in low-income neighborhoods in Toronto. Our goal is to end youth poverty by empowering youth with the tools they need to get ahead. We believe all young people deserve the opportunity to create successful futures.

About The Youth Anti-Violence Task Force
The Youth Anti-Violence (YAV) Task Force is a non-partisan, multi-sectoral and city-wide assembly of city leaders. It was convened by For Youth Initiative in November 2012. There are three main goals of the Task Force; Increase the awareness of the complexities of youth violence and why it should matter to every Torontonian. A call for collective action on the part of senior leaders from private, not-for-profit, labour, education, government, law enforcement, as well as youth, parents, and the community as a whole to address the recent rise in youth violence in Toronto. As well publicly share recommendations from the Youth Anti-Violence Report, which summarizes research and evaluations of past solutions, and makes actionable recommendations for policy makers. On November 4, 2013 the Youth Anti-Violence (YAV) Report was officially released. From Analysis To Action: A Collective Approach To Reduce Youth Violence. The report found that all youth need to be free from social isolation, have healthy family wellbeing, as well as strong access to educational and economic opportunities. These are the root causes of youth violence and due to the complex nature of these causes a collective multi-sectoral approach is needed.

Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2014/7/14/11G018200/Images/JUPAC-1081460400764.jpg

Embedded Video Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYBbW2YyFUg.

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