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

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

Victoria Police Department vehicles outside the headquarters building. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police investigating sudden death in Beacon Hill Park

Police, paramedics responded to a report of an unresponsive person early Wednesday

This dead fir tree is one of many in Mount Douglas Park. Nine dead trees will be removed from the Douglas Creek site starting March 8 to make way for the construction of a new pedestrian bridge. (Photo courtesy Jason Clarke)
Nine dead, hazardous trees to be removed from Saanich park ahead of bridge construction

Felling begins March 8, minor trail interruptions expected in Mount Douglas Park

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

Dozens of reports of sexualized violence against a former employee of downtown Victoria restaurant Chuck’s Burger Bar were posted online in January. A police investigation is ongoing. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Chuck’s Burger Bar closes its doors after sexual assault allegations

Victoria police investigating reports of sexual misconduct, assault by former restaurant employee

COVID-19 vaccines were available at a site on East Pender in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Feb. 25. (Twitter/Sarahblyth17)
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside residents offered $5 after getting COVID-19 vaccine

It’s an effort to ‘incentivize people to engage,’ says B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. teacher transferred then suspended after students report feeling ‘scared, nervous’

Authorities found that teacher did not create inviting, respectful environment for students

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks about the Fiscal update during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Chrystia Freeland says now is not time to lower levels of support

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

Most Read