Catch Kids Doing Things Right!

[Working with kids from a strengths-based perspective can be a powerful tool for juvenile justice reform. Don't believe me? In British Columbia, where the program described below originated, juvenile crime has reportedly dropped 41% in three years. While the cause of the drop can't be proven, the correlation is certainly compelling. The program is a great way for Reclaiming Futures sites to consider involving police officers, and should also inspire applications to teens on probation. -Ed.]

“Positive Tickets are issued to youth by Police Officers for staying out of trouble or performing good deeds. The Positive Ticket is simply a coupon, voucher, token, or note, that has value for goods, services or some type of credit, acknowledgement or appreciation. The Positive Ticket is just the beginning of a multitude of proactive, intentional, positive activities that can transform communities and shift mindsets and attitudes.”

The One Maine One Portland coalition is a community coalition that is funded, in part, by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse. We first came together in 2003 with a common goal of reducing 30-day tobacco use and 2-week binge drinking by Portland's youth. Since that time we have changed our original mission to one that reflects a more holistic prevention approach and incorporates the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets®. Our mission today is: “To foster nurturing and healthy relationships, environments and programs that encourage positive youth development and enable all young people in Greater Portland to live substance-free.”
In 2006, we sent two of our long-serving One Maine One Portland coalition members, Mike Clifford and Margaret Jones, to the Search Institute Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When Mike and Margaret came back, they shared with our coalition a chance meeting they had with a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Chief named Ward Clapham.
Ward had created an initiative called Positive Ticketing and when Mike and Margaret told us about it, we looked across the table and just knew: we had to talk to Ward! My program coordinator, Ronni Katz, and I had the privilege of speaking with Ward by telephone and he was thrilled to hear we were interested.
Over the last two years, we’ve worked diligently with our coalition members, City officials and community members to bring Positive Tickets to Portland. In June of this year we were recognized by the City Council with a proclamation supporting our efforts. Our community police officers have been integral in the process and have come to be champions of Positive Tickets. 
With the help of our local downtown district, we recently garnered the support of our local American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Portland Pirates, who have offered to donate 5,000 tickets to the 2009-2010 seasons! Check out our August 12, 2009 media coverage from the Portland Press Herald. (Stonington, Connecticut was also in the news recently for implementing Positive Ticketing.)
We are ecstatic to bring an initiative like this to Portland because we know that building assets in youth and in our community is a preventive measure we can’t afford to pass up! 
Amanda Edgar, Community Health Promotion Specialist, has worked with the City of Portland Maine's Public Health Division and its school and community-based programs for over three years. She has a degree in Criminology and prior to her work in substance abuse prevention she worked with domestic violence victims. For more information about Positive Tickets, you can find her coalition's blog, which among other things promotes adolescent alcohol and substance abuse prevention, or follow the coalition on Facebook

Updated: February 08 2018