Sudbury Catholic District School Board
September 22, 2010

Rick Osborne Delivers his Message of the Dangers of Drugs and Gangs to Sudbury Catholic

When Rick Osborne was fourteen years old, he didn’t realize how much his life would change by connecting with the wrong people. After being bullied, Osborne decided to befriend people who tore his life apart. At this very young age, he was introduced to drugs and this turned into years of violence, crime and gangs. After making Canada’s Most Wanted List at the age of twenty and landing in jail at twenty-one for robbery and weapons charges, Osborne knew he was at a cross-roads in his life. Even upon his first release, he landed back in jail after six weeks. When back in, he contemplated suicide, but made the decision to not take his own life – even if it meant dying at the hands of another inmate. Osborne eventually began to turn his life around – entering rehab and then getting his first university degree while still incarcerated. After leaving prison a decade ago, he decided to dedicate the rest of his life to talking to children and youth about the dangers of gangs, drugs and criminal activity. “Ozzy’s Garage” is a program in which Osborne works with disengaged youth in communities by inviting them to join him on a build whether it be a motorcycle or hotrod. This past summer, he was invited by the Sudbury Regional Police to partner with them on a bike build that took place at St. Albert Adult Learning Centre. Young adults were invited to the build where they met daily to assemble a brand new motorcycle. “It is not even about building the bike,” Osborne said. “That just gets them in the door. It is about the relationship building to breakdown barriers and then the conversations that begin to repair what is damaged, that is what is important.” At a special presentation to Sudbury Catholic Trustees on September twenty-first, Osborne spoke of the power of giving children a hands-on example of what can happen without romanticizing his experiences. “It always starts by just talking with kids, and then, once they feel comfortable, great conversations start from there.” Osborne will be visiting several Sudbury Catholic Schools over the next few days to continue to educate students on the real life dangers of drugs, gangs and violence.

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