On behalf of the Me to We: Going Local Group, at Family & Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region, we would like to nominate Officer Braden Hill (formerly of Waterloo Regional Police Services) – now serving under Sudbury Police Services, as our Police Hero!
Our initial contact with Officer Braden was in his role as a School Resource Officer within one of our specialized classrooms, servicing students with complex needs. Officer Braden quickly became a well-known fixture, developing relationships and trust among students.
In seeing Officer Hill's interactions with young people, and his passion to support them, accept them and build resilience in them, we inquired if Braden would be interested in joining our Me to We: Going Local group. He jumped at the opportunity without hesitation.
Braden volunteered his time for 5 years, with this group of 15+ youth. Together, we volunteered in our community, giving back and learning about how to help others around us. Officer Hill was a pioneer in this role – establishing relationships with youth, breaking down the barriers of fear and dislike for Police Officers (due to youth’s trauma and history), and cheering young people on as ambassadors in our Community.
Officer Hill connected on a personal level with each and every one of the youth in the program over the years. He took the time to get to know them and their story. He motivated them to keep going, be resilient and work through hardships. Braden saw the value in building positive relationships by engaging our youth, in the Region.
He hosted many of our Celebration nights at the Police Station where we honoured the youth and their accomplishments over the year. He always made them the center of attention, introducing them to colleagues and praising their accomplishments. Officer Hill was key in connecting young people with their community. He initiated a downtown walk – where he introduced the youth to local business owners so they could learn about each others’ stories and struggles – in hopes of building mutual respect, establishing friendly faces in the downtown core, building supports and adult allies, being inspired and helping young people see others succeed – many of whom have also overcome adversity.
Braden was also the lead in establishing our first ever ‘Me to We’ Summer Connection Day. This one-day event brought Police Personnel, Youth and local Tech Leaders together to foster positive relationships, building young minds and future leaders! Through this Connection Day, Adult Supporters interacted with youth, shared stories of struggles, triumph, resilience and the power to create change. Officer Hill was instrumental in offering unique life experiences to vulnerable youth, and creating memories the youth will take with them throughout their life journey and build on positive identities within our community.
Officer Hill also volunteered his time with our annual Tree of Hope Campaign. He worked on the phone lines accepting community pledges and engaged with the community – understanding and listening to their stories. Braden successfully rallied his Police colleagues to pull together two Road Hockey Teams to enter our yearly Hot Shots Road Hockey Tournament! This was a big support to see Officers playing among other community members, to send Children in our Region to Summer Camp.
Officer Hill exemplifies a Collaborative Team Approach in all that he does. He encouraged colleagues to join in supporting events around our Region – especially related to children, youth and Families. He demonstrated the value in investing time in young people; all while promoting positive youth identity, in our Community.
We want to honour Officer Hill for his efforts to develop and build positive relationships between local Police and Youth. His Compassion, Vision and Dedication to foster those relationships in our community has developed into many positive outcomes for these vulnerable youth – most affected by stereotypes, barriers and judgement. By volunteering so much of his personal time, it showed his commitment to youth and the Power of Giving Back. We know Braden’s charisma and passion will carry over into his new city and benefit all those whom come into contact with him.
Thanks for being a Police Hero to us!