Four RCMP retirees, wearing suits instead of police uniforms, gathered at Phoenix House in Halifax yesterday to make a $4,340 donation to Phoenix Youth Programs.

The Nova Scotia division of the RCMP’s veterans association raised $30,380 through a charity draw. The money raised was then equally given to seven charities across the province.
“Where possible we try to connect the charities somehow to our police work,” said association member Gary Grant.

Phoenix Youth Programs was established in 1984 to provide a place for homeless youth in Halifax to sleep. Since then it has developed into 10 different programs for at risk youth, including assisted apartment living, a shelter for youth, and prevention programs in junior and senior high schools.

“We don’t ever want our youth to have to resort to criminal activities for (the) necessities of life,” said program director Lori Barker.

Terry Ryan, president of the Nova Scotia RCMP veterans association, added some youth have never “had the opportunity like Phoenix provides to keep them out of the mud before they stay there.”

We’re trying to help them in that area,” he said.

Ryan also said the veteran’s association is important because it keeps retired Mounties active in the community.

“We’re still doing things, even thought we’ve taken the uniform off,” he said.