1994
Church Helps Curb Gang Activity
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“Church Helps Curb Gang Activity,” Ensign, Feb. 1994, 79–80

Church Helps Curb Gang Activity

In a move to help curb youth gang violence, the Church has announced that it will provide translators for non-English-speaking parents in Salt Lake City and will become actively involved in a local interfaith organization focused on solving problems related to gang activity.

“The Church is a major presence in the Salt Lake community, and we have a tremendous interest in the peace of the city and its neighborhoods,” said Elder John E. Fowler of the Seventy, president of the Utah Central Area. “We are supportive of our young people and their families and want to make sure they have the maximum support needed to make righteous decisions.”

Although the translation effort, which is organized on an area level, was first made available to schools, several other community service organizations have expressed interest in and need for the service. Elder Fowler noted that translation will be provided by volunteers—either returned missionaries, native speakers who speak fluent English, or others who have the interest and sufficient language skills.

In addition, area leaders, in cooperation with local Catholic Church leadership, are evaluating the possibility of establishing an interfaith community organization. “We are meeting with certain clergy from other religions in the area and discussing what we, as local churches, can do regarding this issue,” Elder Fowler said. “We are actively working to help and assist in identifying ways that we might be of service to the community.

“It’s interesting that the Church leadership has designated 1994 as a year to focus on children,” he continued. “It is through these efforts that we are trying to reach out to our young people. The vast majority of young people are committed to doing right, but clearly there are needs. We want to help young people and their families, whether they are members of the Church or not, in finding valuable help and assistance.”