Calgary Police YARD program mentor Cst. Sean Lynn plays basketball with youth Wil Konybai

Mentoring program turns lives around

Calgary Police YARD program mentor Cst. Sean Lynn plays basketball with youth Wil Konybai

January is National Mentoring Month in the US, but why shouldn’t we celebrate a month of mentoring here in Canada too!

This week, Global Calgary is looking at the Calgary Police Service’s Youth at Risk Development (YARD) Program. The program pairs a police officer with an at-risk youth to find solutions to keep them out of trouble and on the path to a brighter future. Here’s a snippet of the latest story about Wil Konybai, who first arrived in Calgary when he was just nine-years-old.

Calgary Police YARD Program participant Wil Konybai

The lure of quick cash and crime was always there and his older brother had already gotten into some trouble.

That’s when Cst. Sean Lynn of the Calgary Police Youth at Risk Development Program (YARD) came into the family’s life. Lynn had an important question for Konybai.

“I sell it to them – what do you need to succeed? We’ll try and help you find that.”

It turns out the answer for Konybai, was basketball. He became a skilled player, thanks to some help from YARD.

“We’ve helped him with his travel documents and permanent resident card so he can travel to the U.S. where he went and played some tournaments this past summer,” says Lynn.

The results of the program speak for themselves.

“It is very, very rewarding,” says Lynn. “I’m starting my 25th year of policing and it’s some of the most rewarding work I’ve done in my career.”

You can read the full story and watch the video on Global Calgary’s website.

How important do you think programs like this are for our city’s youth?