.The 2021 Youth At Risk Development Program Chief Youth Courage Award recipient is Drake. Drake entered the youth justice system at the age of 13 when he became associated with an Indigenous youth gang. As a result of his involvement with the gang and other issues at home, Drake did not have a stable living environment and moved around a lot. He was charged with many criminal charges in his teen years. For many years, Drake was struggling at school due to undiagnosed dyslexia and he had not managed to obtain any of his high school credits. That is when he is was referred to the Youth at Risk Development Program (YARD).
YARD worked with Drake for nine months when he was 17. Throughout this time, they helped Drake get a proper diagnosis for his dyslexia and encouraged him to enroll at the Youth Employment Centre to help him find a job. While he was in the program, Drake showed an incredible amount of growth. He learned about accountability, responsibility, and ethics, while demonstrating resiliency and dedication when faced with challenges.
Since working with YARD, Drake has successfully completed his probation order and has found stable employment. He also began dating his girlfriend, Taylene. She encouraged Drake to stay on this new, positive life path and together they have built a young family. After welcoming their son in 2020, Drake’s goals for his future now revolve around being a good parent, owning a nice home, and one day becoming a chef.
Drake has overcome a lot of adversity in his life, and thanks to the skills he developed working with YARD, he is well equipped to live a successful, happy, crime free life with his family
FAST FACTS: GET TO KNOW DRAKE
Who is your hero? Batman! He is a positive role model and a do-gooder in the community.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Dubai because it is sunny and close to the ocean.
What are the reasons you think youth get involved in crime? For many, it is because of how they grow up. Some have a bad home life and need money. Others experience trauma (such as Residential Schools) and don’t know how to cope.
What do you think would stop youth from getting involved in crime? Being involved in the community, participating in more activities and sports.
What do you do for fun? Video games and hanging out with my brothers.
How would you describe your perfect day? Relaxing on a nice, sunny day with my family.