The school year might be over, but Tuktoyaktuk RCMP are still busy collecting donations for their Mini Mountie program, which has been running in the local school for the past two years.
The Mini Mountie program, it's a school-based program with monthly topics, like ice safety, marine safety, or snowmobile safety. RCMP members would read stories, give presentations, and invite students to participate in the "Mini Mounties of the Month" contest. A billboard, in the main hallway at Tuktoyaktuk Mangilaluk School, is decorated with the kids' artwork and posters inspired by the monthly' topic. Each participating student can win prizes for their posters.
However, for a remote community, buying and providing prizes can pose a difficult challenge, in terms of cost and availability.
Cst. Matt Ryan, of Tuktoyaktuk RCMP, heard of the Northern Canada Mini Projects - a "Random act of Canadian kindness" Facebook group. A simple post asking to ship parcels of goodies to Tuktoyaktuk turned into over $16,000 worth of donations. Food, treats, toys, educational books, the list goes on. "I have one room full as we speak" explains Cst. Ryan. "I have received donations from every province."
The Mini Mountie program made a tremendous difference in how the students are perceiving the RCMP.
"It's a great way for our kids to get to know and be aware of the RCMP. It's a very positive thing, a good connection between the RCMP and the school. The families are very happy to have this program. We have a monthly assembly to announce the winner, and kids are looking forward to it", explains Ephraim Warren, Mangilaluk School principal.
The Mini Mountie program has been developed by an NT RCMP member, Cst. Stephanie Leduc, now working at the Inuvik RCMP Detachment. The program became very popular and is now offered in other NT communities, as well as other RCMP Divisions across the country.
For Cst. Ryan, so much donations have been received, like baking and sewing supplies, and clothing, that he had found more ways to help.
An Elders Program have been established, where RCMP members are baking and cooking with Tuktoyaktuk Elders.
All clothing and sewing supplies will be donated to the local women's shelter.
Tuktoyaktuk RCMP would like to thank the generous donators who provided all the prizes that will make the kids smile in Tuktoyaktuk over the next school year!