Minister’s Award for Leadership in Crime Prevention goes to local police officer
Cst. John Kennedy, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, has received the Minister’s Award for Leadership in Crime Prevention for his work with the Adopt-a-Library Literacy Program.
He was one of 20 persons from across Nova Scotia to be nominated by their communities and recognized with the award. The award was presented by Justice Minister Ross Landry as part of a provincial crime prevention symposium held in Halifax March 28th.
In 2000 Cst. Kennedy joined forces with Nova Scotia public libraries to create the Adopt-a-Library Literacy Program. In his work as a police officer he observed that those who came into contact with the criminal justice system had poor literacy skills. It was his belief, also borne out by statistical evidence, these low literacy levels created a lack of self-esteem and presented few choices in life, which could lead to involvement in crime. Cst. Kennedy created the AAL as a way for police, libraries, and the community to encourage and mentor children and youth to read often and read well.
Since 2000 Cst. Kennedy has organized the Adopt-a-Library into a province-wide crime prevention program involving first responders, libraries, schools, community agencies and businesses. Over 500,000 books have been put into the hands and homes of Nova Scotia children. Through other activities as the WOW! Reading challenge, where schools make a friendly competition of reading, over 5 million books have been read over 5 years. The result has been higher literacy scores and a new relationship between police, children, and youth.
Cst. John Kennedy, RCMP, and the Hon. Ross Landry, Minister of Justice
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For the second consecutive year, Port Maitland Consolidated School is the Yarmouth County champion of the WOW Reading Challenge for elementary schools. The school also placed third in the world in the Fiddlers Division (under 250 students).
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” says Deborah Duke, the librarian for the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Library and coordinator of the program locally. “The kids read and receive prizes and they learn to love literature. The reading in and of itself is a great reward.”
The literacy initiative, in its fifth year in the region, continues to grow as Carleton Consolidated School joined this year, bringing the number of participating schools in the area to six. Students from Arcadia Consolidated School, Carleton, Yarmouth Central School, Meadowfields Community School, Port Maitland and South Centennial Elementary School read 152,677 books between November and April, averaging 122 books per students.
“We had a nine per cent increase in the number of books read per student over the previous year,” Duke says.Meadowfields school placed second in the Tartan Division (250 students or more) in the world and South Centennial won the Special Recognition for Literacy award.There was a special ceremony at Port Maitland school on Tuesday, May 24 with presentations by RCMP Const. John Kennedy, Jennifer Campbell of Register.com/Web.com and Rick Churchill, councillor for the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth. The WOW Reading Challenge is a partnership between the RCMP, Western Counties Regional Library and elementary schools to promote literacy by encouraging children to read.