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Daren Dougall, Artsci'85, MEd'97, is the 2012 recipient of the Padre Laverty award, which honours Kingston alumni who make a difference in the community.
When Daren Dougall, Artsci’85, MEd’97, Executive Director of Kingston’s Youth Diversion Program (YDP), began volunteering with the YDP during his second year at Queen’s, he couldn’t have foreseen that, nearly 30 years later, his substantial contributions to the community through that organization would be recognized by the QUAA Kingston Branch’s 2012 Padre Laverty Award. Neither could he have imagined that the YDP would have blossomed from a small program staffed by a single paid person to a vibrant, leading-edge organization with 17 staff members and 200 active volunteers.
“Throughout this whole time, YDP has been inextricably linked to Queen’s,” says Daren. “It’s incredible the way this small organization has drawn the Queen’s community well beyond the borders of the campus and how solidly Queen’s and its students have supported it through volunteering and partnerships from groups as diverse as QSB’s Non-Profit Gateway and Creo Solutions, the School of Medicine, Faculty of Engineering, and even the STEPdance Crew.”
The relationship between Daren and Queen’s has been reciprocal. A decade into his career with YDP, Daren found himself missing academics and returned to Queen’s part-time to complete a Master’s degree in Education, focusing his thesis on policies of zero tolerance for school violence because he had found in his work that bullying serves to marginalize the young people most in need of education.
As a result of the research Daren did for his thesis, YDP subsequently made some fairly significant operational changes, becoming increasingly involved in school-based work, changing the way schools respond to at-risk youth, and working closely with local school boards to develop an alternative education program run out of YDP. When the Faculty of Education approached Daren to ask if he would design and teach a course on at-risk youth, he was more than happy to become involved as a sessional adjunct lecturer.
“When I look back, it’s clear that Queen’s wasn’t just the school I attended after high school,” Daren reflects. “It has been, some 30 years later, a huge and important part of my life.”