WINNIPEG — A campaign to steer Manitoba youth away from the gang lifestyle launched in Manitoba on Wednesday.
The Link, formerly Macdonald Youth Services, is behind the Gang Life is No Life campaign with funding from the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police (MACP) Organized Crime Committee and Manitoba Justice.
“We recognize the need for this message to reach youth across the province. It is so important for young people to know there are resources available designed to help them safely leave gang life,” said The Link CEO Kerri Irvin-Ross.
“When they’re in it, they feel like there’s no way out. We want to assure youth that there is a way out and we’re here to help.
The social media campaign will target viewers aged 13-16 and includes three short gritty videos made to look like the “Grand Theft Auto” video game. It’s meant to start a conversation about the myths of gang life when compared to reality. A phone number at the end of each video encourages viewers to send a text message to The Link, which will provide around-the-clock responses to texts from youth sent to (204) 900-6010.
“Our hope is that the messages will resonate with youth and that these efforts will result in texts for help,” said Assistant Commissioner Rob Hill, commanding officer, Manitoba RCMP.
“Every day, youth throughout our province are faced with scenarios just like these. But we know the ultimate results of gang life are devastating – and most often lead to victimization, jail time or even death.”
The first phase of the campaign will run for six weeks, followed by a seven-week campaign flight in early October.
Today we launched a new gang prevention campaign aimed at youth throughout the province. Many #youth don’t see the full story of gang life until it’s too late, but there is a way out.
— The Link: Youth and Family Supports (@TheLinkMB) July 26, 2023