With the ongoing gun violence occurring in communities throughout the province, and specifically in the Lower Mainland, the B.C. government has committed $10,000 to help as many schools, students, and families as possible put an end to gang life. This investment will fund at least 35 more presentations for about 5,000 more students, parents, and teachers at schools and communities throughout the province, including those in the Okanagan, Chilliwack, Kelowna, Surrey, Richmond, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Langley and on Vancouver Island.
The End Gang Life program is an in-school gang prevention, education, and youth engagement presentation. Led by ex-gangster Jordan Buna, and supported by educational videos, the presentation contrasts the myths and the realities of entering gang life. It shows people how and why to avoid this dangerous lifestyle, how to recognize when someone is going down this path, and the strategies to deal with the pressures of gang life in communities.
Mr. Buna turned his life around since serving a prison term for being involved in gang activity. He now chooses to communicate his harrowing personal experiences with gangs to communities throughout B.C. to help young people and families avoid the mistakes he made.
For the first time, the End Gang Life presentation has also now been translated to Punjabi in an effort to provide information and resources to more British Columbians who may fear one of their loved ones could be lured into gang life.
Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton –
“Gangs recruit new members when they are young and searching for a place to belong. This program applies the same strategy – we are recruiting youth to stay out of gangs and help keep their friends out of gangs. There have been too many young lives lost to senseless gang violence in B.C. End Gang Life’s ability to empower young people to make good choices to protect themselves and their families is of an immeasurable value to the communities of British Columbia.”
CFSEU-BC staff sergeant Lindsey Houghton –
“We’ve found that the on-the-ground, personal approach to speaking to students, teachers, and parents is effective in creating dialogue. Demystifying the seemingly alluring tactics of gang recruiters is key in helping youth and young adults make better choices. The more that parents understand the potential dangers of gang life and are able to identify signs that their kids might need help, the safer our communities will be for everyone.”
Former gang member and End Gang Life spokesperson Jordan Buna –
“Gang life seemed like such an easy way to make lots of money and have everything I wanted. Instead it robbed me of so many opportunities and exposed me to horrifying scenes that I will never forget. If this new funding allows us to reach just one more student who feels alone and vulnerable and remind them that there are much better options out there, it will make a huge difference. Even though I was lucky and got out, being part of a gang was a death sentence for most of the people I knew. That is the reality of gang life.”