Triumphant Milestone: CSH Initiative Celebrates A Second Graduation

December 21, 2023
Seka Lussier

The Community Safety Host (CSH) Initiative’s successful graduation of its 2nd and 3rd cohorts took place on November 30th, 2023. 15 graduates were celebrated at this landmark event, and signified a momentous achievement in the initiative’s evolution, highlighting its growth and positive influence within the community.

Initially started with just three graduates two years ago, who completed their practicum with a single site partner – Winnipeg Public Libraries. The CSH Initiative has rapidly expanded its reach, collaborating with four additional site partners (amounting to 14 work locations) and employing 31 dedicated Community Safety Hosts.

The CSH Initiative stands as a trailblazer among public-facing professions. The Initiative is guided by the principles of the Indigenous-led advocacy non-profit, Fearless R2W. Community Safety Hosts are recruited with an emphasis on providing an opportunity for sustainable employment to youth who have aged out of care while investing in and empowering persons with lived experiences in navigating barriers to serve the community better. 

Rooted in a profound awareness of Indigenous history, trauma’s impact, and a commitment to creating environments based on safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment, the initiative has achieved remarkable results. 

Over the period of October 2021 to March 2023 – a span of 17 months, 92% of escalated incidents involving Community Safety Hosts were successfully resolved without requiring law enforcement intervention. 

This not only supports individuals with mental health challenges but also alleviates the burden on crucial public resources.

Among the distinguished guests at the graduation were representatives from Health Services, Winnipeg Public Libraries, and the Winnipeg Police Service, acknowledging the collaborative efforts between the CSH Initiative and municipal figures within the community.

The Graduation included an opening Indigenous Ceremony performed by Grandmother and Knowledge Keeper to the CSH Initiative – Mary Burton, the Executive Director of Fearless R2W. This set a meaningful tone for the graduation, emphasizing cultural respect.

Notable keynote speakers included City Councilor John Orlikow and City Councillor Ross Eadie, who commended the graduates for their dedication and contribution to community safety.

Note: The CSH Initiative expresses gratitude for the valuable contributions of its graduates and looks forward to continued success in implementing trauma-informed security practices for the betterment of the community.