The City of Swift Current is erasing the legacy of Graham James with a positive approach.
It is in that Saskatchewan city where the hockey coach sexually abused multiple teen boys during the 1970s and 1980s. On Thursday he was granted full parole.
In light of what happened, Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer launched the Safe Place Youth Certified Initiative, which combined the criminal background checks already required of volunteers with training to recognize the signs of a child being abused.
Last week the Swift Current Broncos, the Western Hockey League team signed up to support the initiative.
“Parents are sending their kids to Swift Current from all over the world entrusting the Broncos to make them better hockey players and I think, you know, they can feel pretty good that the safety and the happiness of those kids is a priority as well,” Schafer said.
The Broncos aren’t the only team on board, the baseball team, the soon to be renamed the Indians endorsed the initiative as well as minor ball.
“It really is about making good people better, it is not always about just catching the bad guys, it is giving people the tools to not turn a blind eye if they suspect something isn’t right with a kid,” Schafer explained.
And Schafer believes it is making a difference in the community of Swift Current.
“Good people are volunteering and because they took that course, you know they see a kid in crisis and they nudge a long and dig in to it a little bit deeper rather than saying well, not my kid, not my problem.”