Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Left walking, came back in a chair

Life for kids can be tough in the gang infested areas near LA. Sometimes it's hard to get kids to listen, since parents and teachers aren't exactly considered "cool", so the Coachella Valley Gang Task Force decided to try a new approach.

Bringing reformed gang members in to talk with the kids about reality.

Former gang members are visiting local classrooms, sharing their emotional stories in hopes of deterring teens from making bad decisions.

The situation couldn't be more dire, with the increasing violence getting closer to home.

"I see it getting worse," said Carmona. "Now we see kids getting shot in broad daylight in front of their homes."

One of the former gang members Fernando Carmona was shot by a rival gang member when he was only 20. When he was in middle school he walked through the halls of La Quinta Middle School. Now because of the gang violence, he visits those same halls in a wheelchair.

Carmona says he was shot by a rival gang member at age 20. Fourteen years later, and he's volunteering his time to talk to local students, at an age when they can be easily influenced.

Sometimes it takes a person speaking to kids from their own experiences for them to listen. In the case of gang violence it could mean the difference between life or death.

Link: New Approach To Keeping Kids Out of Gangs (Local 2 KPSP)