What Should Be Done in the Community to Prevent Gang-Joining?
People often overlook communities as a valuable resource in reaching kids who are at risk of joining gangs. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is that, too often, gang-prevention and other programs in the school are not connected to what is going on in the streets.
In today’s economic reality — where budget cuts have reduced or entirely eliminated youth development programs — community partnerships (particularly those involved in tutoring, mentoring, life-skills training, increasing parental involvement and offering supervised recreational activities) must be a priority. Communities should:
- Consider their existing strengths and resources.
- Collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders to encourage a shared commitment.
- Use partnerships to identify and address community weaknesses.
- Make use of existing evidence-based programs.
Key recommendations for community programs include:
- Build on programs that already exist.
- Develop strategic plans.
- Identify real and imagined “boundaries.”
- Make community participation a priority and maximize partnerships.
- Use training and technical assistance to expand organizational capacity.
- Ensure stability.
In the Spotlight: This chapter features an interview with Father Greg Boyle, a Jesuit priest and the founder and Director of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.
Read the Changing Course chapter “What Should Be Done in the Community to Prevent Gang-Joining?” by Jorja Leap (pdf, 15 pages).
Date Created: September 16, 2013