Langley is one of 12 B.C. communties getting provincial funding for an anti-gang program based in schools.
ERASE (Expect Respect and a Safe Education) is a $1.12 million program aimed at getting at-risk kids off the path to gang and gun violence.
Langley will be splitting the funding with 11 other towns, including Abbotsford, Surrey, Vancouver, Kelowna, Kamloops, Nanaimo, Victoria, and Williams Lake. All are communities identified by police and safety experts as benefitting from additional gang prevention support.
“Young people are being supported to make the right decisions and not join gangs, with the backing of our education, law enforcement and community partners,” said Rob Fleming, B.C.’s Minister of Education.
There will be training and intensive supports for youths, and the creation of resurces for classroom teachers.
Funding will go to the B.C. School Superintendents Association (BCSSA) and will partner with the Boys Club network, a non-profit that creates safe sapces for boys aged 12 to 19.
After school programs and new secondary school electives will be crated to connect teenaged boys with positive adult role models, and to give career development opportunities.
“If boys do not understand and value themselves and their human potential, and make enduring connections with positive adult male mentors and role models within their primary spheres of influence – family, school, extracurricular – they will seek connection elsewhere,” said Walter Mustapich, president of the Boys Club Network. “Elsewhere can be dangerous, damaging, devastating.”
About 2,200 students, 1,500 parents, and 2,500 teachers, law enforcement personnel, and community leaders will be given a chance to take part in gang prevention and awareness education and training.
An ERASE website for parents, teachers, and professionals has been created at www.erase.gov.bc.ca.