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Hope in the Darkness walk supports youth mental health

Sgt. Kevin Redsky and the Hope in the Darkness Walk for Youth Mental Health comes to Fort Macleod on Thursday, Sept. 3.

A four-province walk to shed light on youth mental health arrives in Fort Macleod next week.

The Hope in the Darkness Walk for Youth Mental Health 2020 began July 15 and travels west to Vancouver for a 90-day journey through Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

Now in its eighth week, the walk arrives in Fort Macleod on Thursday, Sept. 3 and heads to Brocket on Friday, Sept. 4.

From Brocket, the walk continues to Lundbreck on Saturday, Sept. 5.

Sgt. Kevin Redsky of the Anishinabek Police Services founded the Hope in the Darkness Walk for Youth Mental Health to promote a message of hope and empowerment for young people.

Intended to be a call to action, Hope in the Darkness provides an opportunity for communities to join together for the well-being, strong identities and healthy lives of young people.

Kevin Redsky and Harmony Redsky will arrive at the Fort Macleod RCMP detachment about 4 p.m. on Sept. 4.

Fort Macleod RCMP have prartnered with Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) for a welcoming ceremony at the detachment.

The ceremony will include a blessing by an Indigenous elder, traditional dancing by a First Nations youth and possibly drumming.

Kevin Redsky with a background working with youth in crisis, and decided to take a stand on youth mental health by showing young people everyone can take action and provide support.

Redsky is an Anishinaabe police sergeant with a career in community policing for more than 17 years, working with youth and missing persons cases.

Redsky began the walk in 2018 at Cape Spear, St. John’s, NFLD and walked for four months to Winnipeg.

The 2020 Hope in the Darkness Walk for Youth Mental Health began July 15 at the Canadian Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg, where the 2018 national walk ended.

Redsky walks about 30 kilometres a day and plans to arrive in Vancouver on Oct. 12.

“I’ve walked half the country from St. John’s to Winnipeg to send a message to young people that as an Indigenous police officer who has walked with other officers from across the country, we understand the struggles with mental health, and the systems that have caused great harm for young people, that maintain poverty, intergenerational trauma, and racism,” Redsky said.

“It is time we start changing these systems by looking at our own roles within them, and confronting the attitudes and behaviours that have no place in helping young people. We each can do better.”

People can get involved by ordering Hope in the Darkness gear, snapping photographs or video of themselves in their gear and uploading to social media.

“We’re calling on mental health workers, police, child welfare, communities to show their support by getting their Hope in the Darkness gear and joining the walk on-line,” Redsky said. “In these unprecedented times, despite every challenge we are facing, we need to show young people now more than ever, that we stand up for them, we believe in them and we see them.”

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