Tools for Success

Program snapshot

Age group: Adolescence (12-17)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Newcomers, immigrants and/or refugees; Visible minority/ethnic group

Topic: Academic issues; Antisocial/deviant behaviours

Setting: Urban area; Community-based setting; School-based

Location: Alberta

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention

Brief Description

The Tools for Success program was implemented by the Alberta Somali Community Centre (ASCC) following the identification of the need to address the disengagement between the schools, Somali parents, and Somali students.  The ASCC committee identified three junior high schools in Edmonton (JD Bracco, Steele Heights, and Dickensfield) that were facing serious challenges in dealing with Somali students in regards to punctuality, academic performance, behaviour problems, and language barriers in communication with parents.

The committee recognized that Somali students were facing culture shock, low self-esteem, loss of identity, lack of academic support, and language/communication barriers. It was also identified that an obstacle that Somali families face when adapting to a new host country is that the children adapt much faster than parents. The children are then forced to act as social gate keepers and interpreters for the parents. This causes a power shift between the children and parents that can create conflict between the generations.

Consequently, parents fail to address this new power dynamic, resulting in a widening gap between the parents and their children. Parents become dissonant with societal norms and less equipped to monitor their children’s movement outside the home, which leads to an inability to detect poor academic performance, substance abuse, gang affiliation, and various other risk behaviours among their children.


The main goal of the Tools for Success program is to:

  • Follow the Lion’s Quest modelFootnote1 and provide life-skill support and mentoring to youth, as well as parenting skills and support to the parents.


The appropriate clientele for the Tools for Success program are immigrants, specifically Somali youth (aged 13-15 years old), who are experiencing challenges with punctuality, academic performance, behaviour problems, and language barriers in communication with their parents. The youth are identified for participation from three junior high schools in Edmonton.

Core Components

Programming was modelled after the Lions-Quest Skills for Adolescents curriculum, including daily meetings with youth and bi-weekly meetings with their parents. Community leaders provided presentations to youth and their parents. The program involved the following:

  • The project engaged students from three Edmonton schools: JD Bracco, Steele Heights and Dickensfield;
  • Monthly information sessions were conducted for parents, where relationships were established; and
  • Quarterly student field trips were held (skiing, camping, and visiting a police station).

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The lead organization should have training in the Lion’s Quest model. The Lions Quest curriculum then needs to be adapted to address the needs of new immigrants.
  • Partnerships: Limited information on this topic.
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The Tools for Success program was implemented in Edmonton (Alberta) from 2011 to 2013. Funding was provided through the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

No information available.


Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: Tools for Success. Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from:

For more information on this program, contact:

Alberta Somali Community Centre
Mahamad Accord
Telephone: (780)757-3331

Record Entry Date - 2018-03-14
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
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    For more information on the Lion’s Quest model, please visit:

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