Dr. Jennifer Bernier, PhD., Founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Building Resilience through Anti-Violence Education (BRAVE) in Halifax, received the 30 in 30 Leadership Award in honour of her achievements for bettering communities through early intervention and prevention initiatives, including the SNAP program for girls in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Presented in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Students’ Association, the 30 in 30 award recognized 30 former or current graduate students for their commitment to a life of leadership, passion and dedication.
Dr. Bernier has shown strong leadership beginning with her studies at Wilfrid Laurier University where she was the first graduate of the Community Psychology doctoral program. Since earning her doctoral degree, Jennifer has dedicated tireless hours to social justice for vulnerable populations – particularly among girls and women.
Most notably are Dr. Bernier’s contributions in the area of gender-responsive evidence-based programming for young girls with significant disruptive behaviour issues – and who are at high risk of engaging in risky behaviours, school dropout, delinquency, health and mental health issues and/or future criminal behaviour. After working for over a decade with women in the criminal justice system, Dr. Jennifer Bernier turned her focus towards early intervention and prevention –particularly for girls. Frustrated by the lack of resources and supports available to adult women in the system, Dr. Bernier designed the Alternative Pathways project to create an alternative path for young girls who otherwise might have faced similar futures.
The Alternative Pathways project aims to decrease bullying, delinquency and future criminalization as well as increase the overall mental health and well-being of girls and their families by teaching them self-control, emotion-regulation and problem-solving through SNAP® (Stop Now And Plan).
The award ceremony took place on November 9, 2017 at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario.