by Jamie Steel
KAWARTHA LAKES-Regardless of whether she’s officially named an extraordinary woman of Kawartha Lakes, Constable Carrie Jenkins already feels like a winner.
As honoured as she is to be nominated in the category of Extraordinary Communicator for the Women’s Resources Extraordinary Women of Kawartha Lakes, Const. Jenkins says it really doesn’t matter if she takes home the prize.
“Being nominated as an extraordinary woman by people I care about and respect for doing something that I love and am passionate about makes me feel like a winner already,” says the Community Services Officer of the Kawartha Lakes Police Service (KLPS).
Const. Jenkins has been a police officer since 1995 and joined the KLPS in 2003.
Nearly three years ago, she became the Community Service Officer when, as she says, she was able to put her “gift of gab” to work. Although her term in that position is coming to an end, she’s excited to continue her work throughout a second three-year term, starting in January. Her application has already been accepted.
The role of Community Service Officer has taken her to classrooms and events across the community, and provided a platform on social media (on Twitter at @KLPSCSO), offering a new opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the lives of many. “(Const. Jenkins) believes that building relationships and education youth on good decision making is fundamental in building a safe community. She has made it her goal and has been successful in connecting with our local youth from a preschool to college age. Through these alliances, she has gained the trust of our youth and feels the messages she is teaching are being heard and having a direct impact on the students,” writes John Hagarty, Chief of KLPS in his nomination of Const. Jenkins for the award.
In the classroom, Const. Jenkins, or Officer Carrie as the students call her, delivers the BRAVO program, which helps students with Building Respect, Attitudes and Values with Others. She teaches young people about peer pressure, tobacco and marijuana use, alcohol misuse, bullying (including cyber bullying), the internet and social media, and actions, consequences and the law. “I love it. I feel like I’m making such a difference,” says Const. Jenkins of her role. “It’s so rewarding.”
Whether it’s the instant gratification of engaging with others and feeling the connection or the overwhelming sense of pride when she sees young people put her lessons into practice in the community, Const. Jenkins considers herself exceptionally fortunate to be able to do what she loves.“The feeling when I walk into a school or even away from the school, the looks on the kids’ faces and their excitement when they tell me about what’s going on in their lives, it’s amazing,” she says.
Although many students are eager to get to know her, Const. Jenkins says there are times when she meets people who may have difficulty connecting with others. This doesn’t slow her down though, she simply adapts. “Everybody is different and has different interests. It’s up to me to find out what those interests are and use them as the building blocks for my relationships with people. Once I build the relationship, my messages can be heard,” explains Const. Jenkins.
As for relating to a variety of people, who are at various stages life, the nominee says “you adapt to the audience”, adding that people have a natural curiosity, she just needs to find a way to help them express it.“People want to better the community, better themselves and better each other,” says Const. Jenkins. “If I can be any part of that, fantastic.”
The Extraordinary Women of Kawartha Lakes celebratory dinner and awards presentation takes place Oct. 19 at The Ranch Resort in Bethany. Tickets can be purchased online on the Women’s Resources website, here:https://womensresources.ca/event/extraordinary-women-kawartha-lakes-ticket-sales/