The Police Foundations program at Durham College (DC) has taken on a new initiative allowing students to learn from working directly with Oshawa community schools. Maria Iannuzziello, former police officer and current co-ordinator of the program, initiated the Village Union Project.
Named after Village Union Public School in Oshawa, Ont. the project has been designed for Police Foundations students to work directly in Oshawa elementary schools allowing them to gain experience working with youth.
“We put 100 students in Village Union Public School last semester,” said Iannuzziello. “That provided the teachers and students with so much help and assistance, they loved us there.”
Val Brooks, Village Union Public School principal, credits the success of the project to the Police Foundations students involved and the commitment they have shown to their younger counterparts.
“Durham College Police Foundations students are very responsible and genuinely care about our students,” said Brooks. “They participate in school activities, are eager to help out whenever they are needed and are good role models”
After its launch last spring, the program has been successful in assisting DC students in gaining valuable experience as well as providing assistance to a local elementary school. The program has expanded this semester to include Glen Street Public School and Mary Street Community School, both in Oshawa, while several students have also chosen to stay on as assistants with the schools even after earning their required credit.
“Working with youth is one of the highlighted interests of most police services today,” said Iannuzziello. “Giving our students this experience will put them in the running for jobs while we are also able to make a difference in the lives of children in our community.”