Calgary Youth Justice and Cenovus launch leadership project

Cenovus provides volunteer coaches and $700,000 in program support

CALGARY, Alberta (June 22, 2012) - The Calgary Youth Justice Society (CYJS) and Cenovus Energy today announced the launch of an innovative leadership development program that links vulnerable young people in the community with volunteer coaches from Cenovus.

The In The Lead program is designed for young people who are susceptible to high-risk behavior. High school students nominated for the program are designated as Young Leaders and matched up with a volunteer coach from Cenovus. Participants come from the Calgary Board of Education’s Discovering Choices schools that offer outreach programs for students who find regular school programs don’t meet their needs.

Two pilot sessions were conducted during the school year. The program is being officially launched in conjunction with the end of the second session.

“I was looking for a company that was ready to engage its own people and its own values in a meaningful way and Cenovus was more than willing,” said Denise Blair, Executive Director of the CYJS. “They made a significant financial investment in the project, though just as importantly, they invested their own human resources.”

The program focuses on what’s strong with young people, not what’s wrong with them, providing a non-judgmental environment for them to explore their talents with adults who accept and encourage them. Students and their coaches take a 16-week journey that helps both parties discover and develop their leadership strengths. The Young Leaders regularly meet one-on-one with their coaches to share stories and ideas on life and leadership. Young Leaders also attend classes where they complete a community project and work through a leadership curriculum.

Program participants in the second session chose to base their community project on the 3 Things for Calgary campaign. The 3 Things campaign, started by Mayor Naheed Nenshi and refined by a group of volunteers, urges citizens to develop three ways of making Calgary better.

“Even more important than the financial contribution is the active way In The Lead engages with our employees, helping them to grow their skills, both professionally and personally,” said Lynne Douglas, Cenovus Group Lead, Community Investment. “This program fits into our three Community Investment areas of learning, safety and well-being and support of vibrant communities. We strive to be innovative in all that we do, including the way that we give back to the community.’’

As part of its commitment to In The Lead, Cenovus is providing $700,000 in financial support for the program. This partnership with a private sector company is a first in the 15-year history of the CYJS, Blair said.

Calgary Youth Justice Society
The Calgary Youth Justice Society engages communities with young people to foster choices and opportunities that build upon their strengths, diverting them from crime.

Cenovus Energy Inc.
Cenovus Energy Inc. is a Canadian, integrated oil company. It is committed to applying fresh, progressive thinking to safely and responsibly unlock energy resources the world needs. Operations include oil sands projects in northern Alberta, which use specialized methods to drill and pump the oil to the surface, and established natural gas and oil production in Alberta and Saskatchewan. For more information, visit

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Reg Curren
Senior Advisor, Media Relations


Denise Blair
Executive Director