What happens when 500 enthusiastic student volunteers are led by an ultra-dedicated leader? For one thing, an entire student community becomes a lot safer. For another, the leader at the helm gets to walk away with the coveted CAA School Safety Patrol Program Achievement Award. That’s exactly what happened for Francine Blais and the Sudbury Student Services Consortium in November 2018. Her steadfast dedication leading the CAA School Safety Patrol (SSP) program in the Greater Sudbury Area was rewarded with a $1500 cheque towards the Patroller program and a plaque recognizing the Sudbury Student Services Consortium. In addition, Ms. Blais received a CAA Plus Membership for her hard work.
The CAA School Safety Patrol program which is a joint effort between CAA, the police, school boards, busing consortia, teachers and parents, trains School Safety Patrollers to ensure student safety at road crossings and on school buses. Ms. Blais introduced the program to the area in 2011 and has consistently expanded its impact and reach year over year. In 2018 alone, Ms. Blais and her team trained nearly 500 student Safety Patrollers in 36 different schools across 4 different school boards.
The consortium delivers most Patroller trainings in both English and French out of their office in Sudbury. Sudbury Student Services Consortium also travels great distances to provide training at host schools in areas such as Markstay, Noëlville and Manitoulin Island, opening up the program to schools that would otherwise be unable to participate.
A large part of what has made the CAA School Safety Patrol Program such a huge success in Sudbury is the recognition given to the student volunteers. The Sudbury team goes above and beyond by ensuring that each Patroller receives a gift in May as a thank you for volunteering. As well, the consortium secured A&W as a sponsor that provides food vouchers to thank Patrollers. And they didn’t stop there. The consortium has also created their own tradition for recognizing those Patrollers who truly excel with additional gifts and certificates of merit. The Sudbury approach to Patroller rewards has been so creative that CAA has showcased its student gifts at Train the Trainer events to inspire other program partners across the province. The program in Sudbury continues to flourish under Ms. Blais’ guidance.