GANGS - Community Council to turn focus to gang problem

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Gang activity frequently intrudes into everyday life in our region, so it is not surprising that "gangs" was suggested as a potential topic for the next Community Council Study.

It also is not surprising that the suggestion came from multiple sectors of the community -- government, nonprofit leaders, educators, funding sources, business owners and private citizens -- and that each viewed the impact of gangs through a different lens.

Two common messages emerged: Something must be done now and a unified effort is needed to successfully reduce gang influence in the region.

Upon the recommendation of a 16-member selection committee, the council's board of directors adopted this question for the 2010-11 community study: "How can prevention and rehabilitation efforts reduce gang membership and the impacts of gang activity in the region?"

Why do people join gangs? What is so appealing about the gang environment? What factors help people resist joining or support those wishing to leave a gang?

Community Council's annual study offers the perfect venue for the community to explore these complex issues and to develop an integrated plan of action.

Everyone interested in the topic is encouraged to participate. Studies are educational and thought-provoking; they provide a great way to get acquainted with neighbors; they are free; and they provide ways to affect the quality of life in our community.

Knowledgeable speakers are invited to address as many facets of the topic as possible, including successful practices employed in other communities. The better educated we are and the more knowledge we share about the issues, the more likely we will be to take effective action.

Since Community Council's geographic focus is the area between Burbank and Dayton, from the Snake River to Milton-Freewater, a regional collaborative approach can be developed to maximize available resources.

Community members then work together to implement the plan.

The 2010-11 Community Council Study is slated to begin in October. Time and location will be announced in September through the Community Council mailing list, the media and Community Council's website, www.wwcommunitycouncil.org. To be personally notified, send your contact information to director@wwcommunitycouncil.org or Community Council, P.O. Box 2936, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

Julie Reese is Community Council's executive director. She can be reached at 509-540-6720 or director@wwcommunitycouncil.org.-funders,,has

About The Council

Community Council was organized in 2008 to inspire a citizen-driven, consensus-based, problem-solving process to prepare the region for future growth, change and challenges, and to enhance the quality of life for everyone.

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