Detective Chief Superintendent John Carnochan co-founded the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) within Strathclyde Police in January 2005 with the aim of developing a strategy that would bring about sustainable reductions in violence within Strathclyde (Scotland). In April 2006 the Scottish Executive (now Government) extended the VRU’s remit nationwide, thus creating a national centre of expertise on violence prevention. The VRU’s fundamental tenet is that “violence is preventable – not inevitable”. Recently, Detective Carnochan spoke at an event in Edmonton. He took some time to share with us, the reasons why mentoring boys is so very important.
“The most important time in our lives is when we are young, this is when we learn all the skills that allow us to make good decisions about ourselves, judge risk and live our lives well, being as good as we can be. It’s not easy but I’m sure when we look back at our own lives we will recall with affection those grown ups who helped us along the way. It might have been mum or dad, or aunt or uncle, or brother or sister, or a neighbour; but for certain they would have been there for us with a word of advice, setting a good example, a guiding hand on our shoulder showing us that someone cares. They helped us navigate life safely and their influence can be profound.
Sadly not every child or young person has someone in their life they can rely on to guide them and act a positive role model. The absence of such adults from the lives of many children can be for a variety of reasons none of which the children have any control over; it’s not their fault they are left to navigate their life without maps or a compass.
To be able to give some time and commitment to helping a young person grow and learn the sort of soft skills we all take for granted is a wonderful gift to give. You only need to be there to guide and mentor and most importantly be a positive example. The influence and affect you will have on a young person’s life will be profound and you’ll feel pretty good about yourself too. The things that make us truly happy money cannot buy, volunteering to help a young person will make you truly happy. You will have skills that you don’t even know you have and you can make a huge difference to some young person’s future. Just do it.”
– John Carnochan, QPM FFPH Co-Director Scottish Violence Reduction Unit
As John says so well, the impact of an adult’s influence in the life of a child is such a critical component to keeping them on their truest path. They need, and crave, a variety of adult interactions. Each one is unique to them, and offers a different and valuable lesson in life. However, without the positive interactions they need and deserve, it can be easy to be led astray. John works in crime and, specifically, violence prevention. He has become a well-known international speaker and consultant on the subject. Through his studies he has found that most importantly to violence prevention is ensuring that from a young age children are exposed to positive influences and environments – this is especially important if they are otherwise exposed to negative ones.
It is no secret either that men are more prone to violent behaviours. Facing this reality, John attests to the importance of mentoring young boys and men. As an agency, Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area (BGCBIGS) also understands this need for role modeling and works to provide it to the youth in our communities. However, we are also especially challenged to meet this need for the young boys we serve. We have a waiting list of 600 young boys who need Big Brothers and countless more in our clubs, where male volunteers are also drastically underrepresented. That is why John has taken time out of his (very) busy schedule to express his support of our 100 Men 100 Days initiative where we, as an agency, vow to introduce 100 new male volunteers to the work we do. Become a part of the solution and apply today.