A few days ago the provincial government announced funding for two organizations, money that will be used to curb gang violence in the province. While the headlines centred on the NGOs who are on the front line, there is a role business can play in this too.
Regina Treaty Status Indian Services will handle the south of the province while STR8 UP in Saskatoon has responsibility for the northern half.
STR8 UP has developed a proven system for helping individuals wanting to leave gangs or a life of street crime transition back into society. A key element of becoming a productive citizen is employment. Not only does it provide income but it brings a sense of accomplishment, routine and, most importantly, purpose. One of the organization’s key principles is that while healing is a personal thing, it requires the support of a community.
While the links between groups such as STR8 UP and employers are largely unformed, business can be a potent player in helping former gang members find their way back into mainstream society…but with an employment opportunity not a donation.