Saskatchewan man wins national award for helping at-risk youth
Kim Sutherland created Street Culture Kidz Project in 1997
Regina's Kim Sutherland, founder of Street Culture Kidz Project, is receiving national recognition for his good deeds.
He was one of 38 people to be awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in the civil division by Governor General David Johnston in Ottawa Dec. 11.
The civil division recognizes those who have performed an activity or deed that has brought honour to their community or to Canada.
"I can't even describe it," said Sutherland. "It's made me go to a place of self-reflection that I didn't know I was possible of."
Street Culture Kidz Project
Sutherland created Street Culture Kidz Project in 1997. It all started after he did a brief stint as a cook at Dale's House, a Regina group home for youth.
He discovered that every day activities, like washing dishes and cooking, made the troubled teens open up to him.
"Looking back I didn't know what I was doing at the time, when I kept duplicating, the magic started to happen. That's when I realized I stumbled onto such a simple concept with such extraordinary results," said Sutherland.
The Street Culture Kidz Project is a non-profit committed to helping at-risk youth better their lives. It provides housing, work experience, educational programming and outreach services for youth on the street.
The organization also opened the only emergency youth shelter in Saskatchewan.
"We are very clear that our ultimate goal is to get a kid through school so they can join the workforce and can contribute back as taxpaying citizens in our country," he said.
To really bring this home to Regina and Saskatchewan is a real honour.- Kim Sutherland
Sutherland doesn't know who nominated him, but he says he feels honoured and humbled that someone took the time to fill out an application.
"Though I understand the spirit of the award, I receive it on behalf of an entire team of over 100 people now, what I did alone over 18 years ago, they do every day on my behalf," said Sutherland, speaking of his work team.
"To really bring this home to Regina and Saskatchewan is a real honour."
Only four others from Saskatchewan have been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in the civil division since its creation in 1991.