United Way invests $70,000 more to curb gangs, celebrates Fraser Valley impact

United Way of the Lower Mainland is providing an additional $70,000 to gang-prevention program In It Together, operated by Abbotsford Community Services.

Yves Trudel made the announcement at the Fraser Valley Community Spirit Awards May 7. The event recognized United Way donors and the impact their generosity is having in the Fraser Valley.

united way in it together abbotsford gang prevention

Yves Trudel (United Way), Harley Jones and Alison Gutrath (In It Together) at the Fraser Valley Community Spirit Awards May 7.

“United Way is proud to support the In It Together program, a truly local, high-impact approach that has garnered incredible support from local residents,” said Yves Trudel, Regional Director, Fraser Valley, at United Way of the Lower Mainland.

“When programs are paired with the passion and action of local citizens, we can create community-wide solutions to gang violence.”

Leading change in Abbotsford, and beyond

United Way also presented Abbotsford Community Services with our Fraser Valley Spirit of Community Award. The honour celebrated the valuable impact of the agency’s services for local residents.

“We’re so grateful for this continued partnership with United Way,” said Rod Santiago, Executive Director, Abbotsford Community Services. Without their earlier support, we would have had to literally close our doors last year and lost skilled staff members and our long-term relationships with youth.”

“United Way helped us through the interim period without government funding and are continuing to recognize this critical need by contributing funds to increase the services we can provide to at-risk youth and their families,” Rod added.

yves trudel united way abbotsford community services

Yves Trudel (red vest) joins the dedicated staff at the In It Together program by Abbotsford Community Services, fall 2018.

Stepping up to prevent gang violence

When federal funding for the Abbotsford gang-prevention program was set to expire September 30, 2018, United Way committed $100,000 to keep the program open for local youth. On April 23, 2019, the Government of British Columbia announced further investments in gang-prevention programs, including $977,966 for the In It Together program.

One-hundred percent of United Way donations raised in the Fraser Valley, stay in the Fraser Valley. This additional investment in In It Together was made possible by the generosity of our United Way donors who made donations during the 2018 United Way campaign.

United Way is embedded in Abbotsford and throughout the Fraser Valley, with its Fraser Valley office at Sweeney Neighbourhood Centre. This allows us to be responsive to the issues that matter most to residents of this region.

Successes of the In It Together program include:

  • 427 youth participants (ages 12 – 30) supported since April 1, 2014
  • Over 1,100 parents, grandparents, and guardians of youth at-risk of gangs supported
  • Over 95% engagement rate (participants become involved and stay involved long term)
  • 54% decrease in total risk scores after 20 months

Read how United Way committed $100,000 to keep In It Together open for Abbotsford youth, fall 2018.