THE Abbotsford Police Department and the Abbotsford School District are reaching out to the South Asian community by co-hosting a community forum on how to deal with the menace of gangs.
The ‘Forum for a Healthier Community’ takes place on Wednesday, April 15 at 7 p.m. at the MCA Auditorium (32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford – in City Hall).
Chief Constable Bob Rich and Superintendent Kevin Godden will be in attendance and there will be presentations from both the APD and Abbotsford School District. The forum, including a video, will be presented primarily in Punjabi.
The first part of the forum will focus on informing parents and concerned citizens about violent incidents and serious crimes that have taken place in West Abbotsford. These incidents have involved young people and have increasingly become a serious public safety issue for our city. The nature of these incidents and the increased involvement by young people with gangs creates the need for immediate action.
The forum will then discuss ways for parents to work with their school to help young people choose a better path.
Rich says: “The community is currently dealing with a very important public safety issue. Young people from Abbotsford are getting involved in gangs. Being in a gang will ruin a young person’s life. That young person will end up in prison, or worse, being a victim of serious violence. The most effective way for us to protect our community and our families is to become informed and involved. I strongly encourage you as a member of our community to attend the forum and to work with us to find solutions to keep our young people safe.”
Godden says: “We know that there is a strong connection between students’ achievement and positive parent involvement in schools. Students tend to achieve better, and are engaged in more positive behaviours when their parents have a positive relationship with the teachers. We want all of our parents to be engaged in our schools; it will make a significant difference in the lives of our children.”
IN letters addressed to “parents / concerned community members,” Rich and Godden state: “An increase in violent incidents on the west side of Abbotsford amongst young people is a serious problem for our city, and we need your help. A significant number of youth are involved in conflicts, particularly in the Townline Road area. These incidents have led to a range of serious crimes and increased involvement with gangs. When a youth becomes involved in gang violence they hurt their families and the community. They also ruin their own lives. For most, the pathway to this behaviour started years before in elementary school – a period of time when the behavior and personality of a child is established.
“The Abbotsford Police Department and Abbotsford School District believe immediate action is needed. There are things you can do as a parent and a community member to help these children and help put an end to this serious public safety issue.
“We ask that you attend a forum aimed at informing and motivating parents to be part of the solution. Our ‘Forum for a Healthier Community’ will discuss current issues and provide opportunities for parents to help shape the future of their children.”
They added: “The Abbotsford Police Department and Abbotsford School District are committed to doing everything we can to help keep the young people in our community safe. We see their potential and we want them to be all they can be. Working together, we can help our children succeed.”