OTTAWA -- A collection of stories by youth is one way the Ottawa Police Service is growing the next generation of writers and giving back in more ways than one during the pandemic.

The OPS has once again teamed up with Baico Publishing for its 'Grow a Writer' program.

Now in its second year, the initiative encourages youth ages eight to 16 to submit short stories, providing a creative outlet during the pandemic.

“It gives them a chance to put that energy out there,” said Sgt. Devon Archer. He recently presented last year's finalist with their own copy of the published book.

“I remember one of the writers grabbing the book and hugging it and jumping up and down,” said Archer. “They have a voice and this gives them a chance to tell their voice whether it’s real or in a fantasy way.”

OPS received more than 50 submissions, and more than half were published. The authors range in age from eight to 12 years old.

“Round two is coming up this year and we’re excited,” Archer said, adding that they've increased the age limit to 16. “We want to encourage literacy we want to encourage a positive activity for kids to get involved in.”

All proceeds raised from book sales will go back into the community in the form of a scholarship for youth in need.