Gang life target in MLA essay contest

Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson is teaming with the Community Police, the Gitxsan Chiefs’ Office and Dan Hamhuis to spearhead a contest design to combat gang activity.

Open to teenagers aged 13-18 across the Stikine riding, the contest is called ‘Don’t Let Gangs Score’ and asks the youth to write about how sports have helped them connect to their community to counter the attraction to gangs.

“[We’re] just trying to emphasize alternatives to what often is attractive about gangs which I think is a sense of belonging, sense of power,” said Donaldson.

Donaldson was inspired to start the contest after reading the articles in The Interior News regarding a growth in gang activity in Smithers. Specifically, the RCMP were noting that they had come across people who flaunted an association with the Duhre Group, a gang centred in Abbottsford.

“That [article] actually caught a lot of attention province-wide because people, often-times, don’t associate smaller and rural communities with that aspect but experts have pointed out, it’s not just an urban issue anymore, organized crime where go where it can,” said Donaldson.

Canuck Dan Hamhuis donated two tickets to a Canucks game for the contest winner. Hawkair will provide the transportation to get to Vancouver and the Gitxsan Chiefs’ Office have donated money to go toward’s expenses while on the trip. Donaldson himself has pitched in for a night’s accommodation.

Entries for the contest have to be received by noon on Mar. 23.

For more information on this contest call one of the constituency offices at either 250-847-8841 (Smithers) or 250-842-6338 (Hazelton).