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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Province announced $486,000 for mentorship programs on Tuesday to help kids avoid gang and criminal lifestyles.

School District 60 will receive $13,198  for the Positive Connections After School Program, according to the Ministry of Public Safety.

Youth care workers will provide mentorship and counselling to at-risk youth in the district, along with positive group activities, said the ministry.

“We need to work together to make sure young people are knowledgeable and resilient,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “By supporting our schools and investing in early intervention and prevention programs, we’re addressing the root of the issue and diverting vulnerable youth from joining gangs in the first place.”

The ministry says programs will be delivered within respective school districts in partnership with educators, non-profit organizations, Elders, counsellors and others.

“Our government is committed to working together with education and community partners, Elders and counsellors to provide youth with brighter futures and end the gang violence threatening our communities,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “These important new mentorship programs are another way government is working to ensure all B.C. students receive an education free from discrimination, bullying, harassment, intimidation and, most importantly, violence, for generations to come.”

The funding is administered through the School District Mentorship Grant Program to create initiatives with a focus on building stronger and positive connections to community, culture and relationships. It was developed by the ministries of Education and Public Safety and Solicitor General as part of the Erase strategy, an education-based anti-gang program.

The Erase program also carries out analysis of concerning or risky student behaviour, educator training, identification of local resources for support and school district capacity building.


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