Surrey MLA Garry Begg speaks to a crowd at North Surrey Secondary School on Dec. 5 as the provincial government announces more funding for gang prevention programming. (Photo: Twitter@RachnaSinghNDP)

Surrey MLA Garry Begg speaks to a crowd at North Surrey Secondary School on Dec. 5 as the provincial government announces more funding for gang prevention programming. (Photo: Twitter@RachnaSinghNDP)

Province gives $4.93M boost to school-based gang prevention program

The funding will see the ‘Erase’ program expand from 12 to 16 communities

The provincial government has announced it is giving a $4.93 million boost to the gang prevention program “Erase” over the next three years.

Erase, which stands for “expect respect and a safe education,” is a school based program that aims to support at-risk students “to get off the path to gang life.”

The program is in its second year of operation and is now expanding from 12 to 16 communities in B.C.

“Too often, we hear about the devastating effects of gang life on B.C. youth and their families, which is why we’re taking targeted action and offering intensive supports in B.C. communities that need help the most,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, who made the announcement in Surrey Thursday along with Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

“By focusing on training and prevention, we are taking important action to support young people earlier and give parents, schools and communities a way to work together toward positive futures,” added Fleming.

In March of this year, the province had announced $1.12 million for the program.

Together, these investments will “provide ongoing support” to the previously named communities (Abbotsford, Burnaby, Delta, Kamloops, Kelowna, Langley, Nanaimo, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria and Williams Lake) and the program will expand to Campbell River, Chilliwack, Courtenay and Hope.

See also: VIDEO: A ride-along with Surrey’s Gang Enforcement Team

Read also: How gangsters are recruiting Surrey teens on Instagram, Snapchat

See also: VIDEO: A former Surrey gangster’s cautionary tale

Safer Schools Together – the Ministry of Education’s service-delivery partner for the student safety components of Erase – is “continuing to develop a new resource for B.C. educators, connected to the provincial physical and health education curriculum,” a government release notes.

The new resource will be made available in early 2020, the release indicates, and will include informational videos and a teacher’s guide to help students develop healthy relationships, avoid unsafe or exploitive situations and protect themselves from harm.

Surrey school district Superintendent Jordan Tinney said in a release that “hundreds of students in Surrey alone have already benefited from the gang awareness training delivered by experts in the field, and with this expansion, even more B.C. students will have access to life-changing training and educational opportunities.”

Tinney said the program offers “community-focused supports, meaning students in the priority communities will receive programming that is tailor-made to suit their specific needs.”

Minister Farnworth said “prevention and intervention at the community level are important parts of combating gun and gang violence. That’s why we continue to invest in programs like this that support our law enforcement partners, schools and communities in curbing violence and saving young lives.”

A government release says that to date, “more than 8,000 students, parents, educators and community partners have participated in 110 training and education sessions” through Erase.

READ ALSO: Intervention, prevention among goals of anti-gang funds for Surrey: MP

SEE MORE: B.C. gets $5.3 million to work against gangs and guns



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rick Morgan, Nanaimo Search and Rescue building director, and Carly Trobridge, president and search manager, turn sod to kick off the start of renovations to NSAR’s headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 26. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Search and Rescue getting started on $2.6-million makeover at Harewood headquarters

Renovation project will increase space for vehicles and improve training and management operations

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

A downed power line has sparked a brush fire along Yellow Point Road south of Nanaimo. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Downed hydro line sparks brush fire in Yellow Point

North Oyster firefighters and B.C. Hydro on scene along Yellow Point Road

A concrete seawall built to prevent erosion on a property on Driftwood Drive on Mudge Island. (Islands Trust image)
Appeal Court says Mudge Island homeowners’ seawall has to go

Court decides right to guard against erosion isn’t a ‘privileged’ property right

McDonald’s on Nicol Street in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
McDonald’s in Nanaimo reports COVID-19 case

Employee at Nicol Street location last worked Jan. 17

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Emergency crews were called to a three-vehicle crash Monday morning on the old Island Highway close to Rock City Road. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Car, pickup and semi truck crash along the highway in Nanaimo

Incident happened in front of Rock City Plaza on Monday morning

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
5 big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

Most Read