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A UofGH student helping teens find a passion for policing

Text that reads: I've had students tell me, 'Because of you, I really like law and want to pursue it.'

It was in the halls of her high school that University of Guelph-Humber alumna Daria Rayegan-Tafreshi was originally inspired to work in policing, after being inspired by the respectful and honourable officer who worked there to follow in the same path.

Rayegan-Tafreshi could not have known then that she would one day have the opportunity to similarly inspire young people to get involved in law enforcement and justice – and certainly, she could not have imagined it would have happened so soon.

When Rayegan-Tafreshi, who recently graduated from the Justice Studies program, decided to transfer to the University of Guelph-Humber from a police foundations course at another Toronto institution, she was motivated in part by UofGH’s robust field placement opportunities.

That is how she first began working with the Ontario Justice Education Network, a not-for-profit charity that aims to empower youth through justice education. Through her placement, she got the chance to work at Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School in Toronto near UofGH campus, where she found an immediate rapport with the students.

In fact, the placement was such a success that Rayegan-Tafreshi was hired on as a student teacher there in a law class.

“I would not have got that job if not for the placement, because it’s so hard to get into high-schools,” said Rayegan-Tafreshi, who also completed a placement with Toronto Court Services. “It’s been so great.

“In the beginning, the students didn’t care for me. Now, if I miss a day, they ask: ‘Where are you, miss?’ It’s so nice to see that. I’ve had students tell me: ‘Because of you, I really like law and want to pursue it.’ Hearing that is the biggest accomplishment for me.”

Helping students find a passion for justice

In her role, Rayegan-Tafreshi helped facilitate lessons and groupwork, review the students’ work and offer mentorship. She also spent time in the classroom preparing the students for a mock trial in which they went and argued in front of a judge.

Rayegan-Tafreshi’s students have become so engaged in justice, she helped co-ordinate a trip to UofGH campus, where the young students got the chance to tour the school’s C.S.I. lab and see a presentation from Justice Studies Assistant Program Head Dr. Glenn Hanna.

Mutual learning opportunities

Rayegan-Tafreshi’s work at Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School has not only provided a valuable learning experience for her students – Rayegan-Tafreshi herself has likewise discovered a passion for education that could inform her future.

“My dream is to become a cop for sure,” she said.

“But this really opened my eyes. I want to get into policing, but I want to work in the schools if possible, and I want to continue my education. Hopefully, I can become a teacher while being a police officer.”