Youth, Parents, and Community

About Us

“We need you; we need your youth, your strength, and your idealism, to help us make right what is wrong.” 

~ Ronald Reagan

 Our Mission:

The mission of this website is to share information and resources throughout British Columbia with youth, parents, community partners, educators, service providers and those working in the criminal justice field about the prevention of youth becoming involved with gangs.

As we are striving to create healthy relationships with youth in our communities across the Province, we welcome the opportunity to dialogue with you by hearing your voices, thoughts and ideas about this website.

Who We Are:

This website is a result of the 8 Community Assessment Action Networks that participated in the B.C. provincial youth gang prevention strategy.

The B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General in partnership with the Inter-ministry Committee on the Prevention of Youth Violence and Crime, received $2 million over four years from the National Crime Prevention Centre to implement the ‘Preventing Youth Gang Violence in BC – A Comprehensive and Coordinated’ Provincial Action Plan.

8 communities were selected based on the level of need, risk, and community readiness to develop gang prevention initiatives.  To facilitate this development, each of the 8 communities formed a Community Assessment and Action Network (CAAN) consisting of service providers representing various agencies from within their communities.  Members worked collaboratively to address youth gang violence and youth involvement in gangs in their communities and schools and selected a lead agency to run the initiatives.

The following is a list of the 8 CAANs and their lead agencies and projects:

1. Abbotsford CAAN 

Lead Agency: Abbotsford Community Services Society

YOUTHemes program connects youth to support services such as job training, mentoring, recreational programming and educational opportunities. 

The CAAN has also been raising awareness about the youth gang issue through community forums with youth and parents.In addition, they are working towards implementing a “Wraparound” model for youth at-risk of criminal/gang activity through federal funding.

2. Surrey CAAN

Lead Agency: School District#36

Protecting Surrey Schools Together (PSST) Website was created by the Surrey School District in partnership with the Surrey RCMP to promote a safe and caring school environment for students. It is a secure and confidential place for students to write articles, share their experiences, and connect with each other in a safe environment. The “Report It” section is a safe and anonymous way for students to report bullying, threats of violence and vandalism.

The Newton Knights Program runs out of Tamanawis High School and offers pro-social activities to local Surrey youth, such as recreation and sports opportunities, in a neighbourhoodknown for youth gang violence, vandalism,and criminal activity.

The Surrey CAAN has developed a Universal Assessment Tool to identify youth involved or at-risk of involvement in gangs. School district staff has been training to effectively utilize this tool.

The “Wraparound Surrey Project” brings together several community partners in Surrey to provide longer-term, encompassing services and support for gang-associated youth and their families, as well as resources and education for the broader community. Through the project, 11 to 17-year-old school district students exhibiting risk factors are provided a personalized care plan to address the risks that may lead to gang-associated behaviour. The plan extends into most facets of the young person’s life; personal, family, school, peer and community; thus "wrapping" the student with a network of support and encouragement. The Wraparound project consists of five full-time Surrey school district staff trained in youth intervention strategies and three full-time police officers from both the BC Integrated Gang Task Force and Surrey RCMP.

3. Kamloops CAAN

Lead Agency:  KamloopsSchool District

Community awareness forums were held to help the community come together to first understand the rising issues of youth gang/violence in their community, and to also provide tools and strategies to parents, service providers, and youth to address the issue.

The CAAN has also provided funding to support and implement local community programs and activities that focus on preventing youth violence. All of these projects either demonstrated early intervention for high risk children/youth of entering a pathway of later gang/violence activity, or they demonstrated interventions to change the pathways of current youth at risk of gang/violence. In addition, a youth council was established with a focus on leadership building for the youth involved in the CAAN.

Aboriginal Circle project was created in response to an increase of Aboriginal Youth becoming involved in gangs. The purpose of the circle was to learn and understand these issues, to hear from Elders and Aboriginal youth as to ‘what was working’ and ‘what was not working,’ and to help create culturally relevant strategies to help decrease Aboriginal youth involvement in gangs and criminality.

CAAN Website project involved youth from several schools in Kamloops. The website features resources and materials that address the issue of youth involvement in gangs. The CAAN also hired a youth to create and design the website and the Kamloops CAAN logo

4 DOORS project are workshops for youth that give youth the message that they have the choice to strive towards their dreams and goals and stay away from obstacles like gangs, addiction, and enforcement issues. The 4 DOORS project is a 3D visual analogy of the 4 types of choices one can make. This visual allows youth to see how their choices are affecting their life right now (i.e.: what door is most open). This project gives parents, educators and service providers an easy tool for discussing the issue of gangs, drugs and violence with youth.

4. Richmond CAAN

Lead Agency: Touchstone Family Association

Street Smarts Youth Leadership Program is a leadership program for youth who may be at risk of gang involvement. The objective of the program is to support at-risk youth to develop leadership skills through a series of workshops and to receive mentorship in order to make positive life choices. The program supports low asset youth who would benefit from intensive mentorship and support. Youth are referred through the Richmond School District, community agencies, and parents. The program connects at-risk youth to support services, job training/educational opportunities, mentoring, as well as educating youth, parents, and community on youth gang prevention.

5. Vancouver CAAN

Lead Agency: The Vancouver School District

Youth Empowered & Safe (YES) initiative connects targeted youth to support services, educational opportunities, boys and girls groups, and mentoring; trained high school students mentor elementary students through a peer mentorship project. In addition, the CAAN has provided multilingual presentations and workshops to parents and community and school personnel on youth gang prevention strategies, including parenting strategies.

The CAAN also developed a parent handbook on “Steering Kids Away from Gangs,” available in English, Punjabi, Chinese, Tagalog, Spanish, and Vietnamese. 

6. Prince George CAAN

Lead Agency: Justice Education Society of BC Northern office

The Prince George CAAN is a partnership between key local stakeholders. The PG CAAN is at its initial planning stages and will be working to build community capacity, complete a focused needs assessment and develop an action plan to respond to local youth gang issues in Prince George.

7. South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence CAAN (SACCAYV)

Lead Agency: MOSAIC

The SACCAYV has created a youth committee that recruits high risk youth to participate in prevention activities resulting in the development of leadership skills. The SACCAYV has also developed an information booklet for parents in Punjabi and English highlighting signs to watch for and available help. A major function of the SACCAYV is to establish a network of culturally relevant services for addressing youth involvement in gang violence.

8. Vancouver Urban Aboriginal Community CAAN (Aboriginal Youth/Vancouver Police Department Working Group) 

The CAAN has been working to identify and support local community activities and initiatives that engage youth who are currently involved in or vulnerable to youth gang violence. The CAAN has been working towards coordinating and networking existing services and programs, and engaging parents, youth, and community members at large in the issues as well as in services and programs. This has been achieved by holding youth, parent, and community and public forums on the youth gang issue. The CAAN has also worked to engage youth through sports and leisure events. Additional events have been held to recognize and celebrate positive accomplishments of youth in the community.

Eastside Aboriginal Space for Youth (E.A.S.Y.) - The Eastside Aboriginal Space for Youth (E.A.S.Y) project is delivered by the Vancouver Police Department and the Circle of Eagles Lodge Society, with support from other government and urban Aboriginal organizations in Vancouver. The project is designed to prevent high risk, Aboriginal youth in Vancouver from joining gangs. The program provides youth with resources and alternatives to gang involvement to reduce the risk factors associated with gang activity and increase the protective factors linked to positive and healthy development. The project provides a Late Night Resource Centre (2610 Victoria Drive), Outreach, Recreational activities and Community Engagement forums. Eighty high-risk youth participate in this project through all programs

If your agency would like to advertise a positive community event or if you have any questions or concerns regarding this site, please feel free to contact the website administrator:

Zoe Abud

Project Facilitator YES (Youth Empowered and Safe) Gang Prevention project

Vancouver School District

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