A History of Gang Prevention

Apr 8, 2015

George Boykin, sitting in the Sanford Center library, considers the future of the gang prevention program.
Credit Mark Munger

The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors recently voted to end all county funding of non-profit organizations and works, including the Sanford Center's gang prevention program. This program, which has relied upon county funding, was instituted in 1992 to help curb a burgeoning gang culture in Siouxland. Unlike state programs that limited intervention to 90 days, the SC approached the issue with the philosophy that children in danger of joining gangs needed long-term support and that their decisions to join gangs resulted from large cycles of dysfunction within the community.

Since the early days of the program, gang violence and participation has decreased dramatically in Siouxland. But without the funding from the community, there are concerns that the problems that marked our community in the 90's may recur. This is certainly the worry of George Boykin, the SC's executive director, as well as many leaders in the business and philanthropic community. A special fund-raising event will be held this afternoon at the Orpheum Theatre. Doors open at 5 p.m.