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New Kelowna education program helps parents keep their kids out of gangs

Vernon Morning Star - 5/14/2019

Kelowna parents are jumping on board with a new 90-minute education program luring their children away from gang activity.

The program aims to give parents knowledge on how to prevent their kids from getting involved in youth gangs with topics including an overview of the current B.C. gang landscape, information on how gang members are recruiting and what attracts children and youth to the gang lifestyle.

"This session is intended to give parents powerful tools to keep their children safe," said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. "We've heard too many tragic stories about current and former students who've suffered violence, injury, incarceration or even death as a result of gang activity in this province, which is why we're committed to ensuring young people have the support they need to keep out of the gang life."

Seminar presenters will provide parents with the warning signs and steps they can take if they think their child is involved in gang activity.

"Education is a powerful tool that can help parents be able to identify early warning signs that their children are getting on the pathway to gang activity. These sessions will provide parents with practical and beneficial training that will support them to know what to do if faced with this circumstance that's, unfortunately, affecting too many youth and their families in B.C. today," said Central Okanagan Public Schools chair Moyra Baxter.

The program is in part of the school board's new ERASE strategy.

"In Central Okanagan Public Schools, we make sure our youth have a safe place to become lifelong learners and responsible citizens," said superintendent Kevin Kaardal. "We are glad to have Safer Schools Together and ERASE as partners in educating our students about the risks of gang involvement to further help them carry the attributes they learn in our schools beyond the classroom and into the community."

According to a press release, in March 2019, Kelowna became one of 12 priority communities identified by police and safety experts as those that could benefit from additional gang prevention support. The other communities are Abbotsford, Burnaby, Delta, Kamloops, Langley, Nanaimo, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria and Williams Lake.

The parent education session is scheduled for May 22 at 6 p.m., at the Hollywood Road Education Centre, 1040 Hollywood Rd.

No registration is required.

 
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