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The City of Kamloops Introduces the Building Safer Communities Program with To Hell and Back

Release Date

The City of Kamloops is one of the federal government’s Building Safer Communities Fund recipients announced in March 2023. The objective of the Building Safer Communities Fund is to support municipal efforts to address gun and gang occurrences.

The City’s funding allocation will be put towards community-led projects that will combat gun and gang violence in youth and address knowledge gaps concerning the impacts of interventions in gun and gang violence. 

A three-year plan is in progress with a dedicated Community Education and Prevention Coordinator employed by the City who will work directly with City staff, Kamloops RCMP, Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc, and key youth organizations in our community.

The three-year initiative will:

  • develop local and community-based strategies 
  • build capacity to better understand the nature, scope, and impacts of the types of prevention and intervention initiatives implemented 
  • enhance evidence-based and targeted prevention and intervention activities
  • provide educational opportunities for youth, caregivers, educators, and support workers
  • develop a data collection strategy and system

As the Building Safer Communities Fund is new to the community, residents are invited to attend a free event, To Hell and Back, on Monday, May 29, 2023, at 4:00 pm, in the Molson Canadian Hockey House at Sandman Centre. The event is part of the stage speaker series of the Memorial Cup Presented by Kia. 

To Hell and Back is an interview with Joe Calendino, an ex-Hells Angel member, and Kevin Torvik, a retired member of the Vancouver Police Department. The interview will be led by Yves Lacasse, retired RCMP, and will share Joe’s story, his relationship with Kevin, and how he exited gang life with Kevin’s support. Calendino not only recovered but he thrived and redefined himself as a community youth leader, eventually winning the Courage to Come Back Award given to individuals who give back after overcoming tremendous adversity.

The event will share information on Yo Bro l Yo Girl Youth Initiative, Joe Calendino’s youth mentorship program, and its future in Kamloops.