Criminology class raises money to fight youth crime

A criminology class at St. Thomas University raised over $600 for a local bike club to help lessen crime among the city’s youth.

Emma McCorkell, a student who organized the fundraiser, said the goal was to raise money for the Wil-Doo Community Bike Club and make the club known.

“We really just wanted to do it because it provides great programming for kids on the north side and it’s really great because if they don’t have a bike already, then they’re provided with a bike for free of charge,” McCorkell said.

The CRIM-3283: Crime Prevention class at St. Thomas University used their skills and love for cookies to raise money for a local youth initiative last week. (Photo: Sarah Betts)

McCorkell and her classmates held a bake sale and silent auction over two days on Nov. 8 and 9. She said Wil-Doo, which also fixes bikes for free, helps eradicate crime among the city’s youth by getting them working together from a young age.

“It’s related to crime prevention in that it’s been proven that creating good social bonds and community programming , especially at a younger age, is shown to prevent crime because if children are invested in their community, and they have great social bonds and they have friends and stuff, they’re much less likely to commit crime.”

The Wil-Doo Community Bike Club aims to get kids off the streets and couch and onto the trails around the city. (Photo: Jenn Wambolt)

The bike club caters to about 66 families. As of Oct. 25, Jenn Wambolt, the group’s co-founder, said it went on more than 35 rides this year and brought 40 kids. It also provided 36 bikes to those in need.

The program started in 2014 when the community centre in Wambolt’s neighbourhood on the north side of Fredericton did not get enough funding for the year.

“When we did have the summer program, I volunteered with it so I knew the kids and had an idea how the program was run and one of the things they did with them was walk them to Henry Park which is just a couple blocks away and that kind of gave me the idea, like ‘Ah, I can bike them to all the pools,'” Wambolt said.

Wambolt said Wil-Doo is keeping kids out of trouble on the streets and getting them onto the trails to see the city and make friends.

“It gets the kids out there. It’s very common

nowadays that most of our children are inside, sitting in front of screens. Parents don’t encourage kids to go outside anymore,” she said.

“And when you have a well-working bike, you want to ride it. I mean, you’re dreaming at night about getting up in the morning and getting on your bike. The visibility of having kids riding around and playing together –co-operatively, now they know each other – it works.”