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News & Views - Aug, 1998 Issue #53

by: Thomas Boerman, Director
Eugene, Oregon
(541) 345-0155
E-mail: tboer@darkwing.uoregon.edu 

In less than forty years, the number of cities in the U.S. affected by gang presence has grown from approximately sixty to over two thousand. Fueling the anguish and the passion of those associated with gang affected youth is the awareness that many are society’s most vulnerable, most pained, and most discarded treasures. Tragically, in their quest for experience to fulfill the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, hundreds of thousands have turned to a culture that ultimately extracts from them their selfhood, deepens their despair, and robs them of the authentic capacity to empower their lives. 

At Community Gang Response Associates we believe that professionals must strive to see beyond society’s simplistic perceptions of gang culture; to understand the influence it has upon troubled youth—not just gang members— and to integrate this awareness at all levels of intervention. 

We have been providing customized staff training, program development and consultation services to schools and organizations across the United States since 1994. During that period we have worked with thousands of professionals in education, alcohol and drug treatment, mental health, social service, juvenile corrections, probation and parole, and the full range of out of home placement services. 

We begin by “untangling” gang mentality; the constellation of beliefs that define gang culture. While most are familiar with the term “Gang Mentality,” few have explored the elements that make up this belief system, or to develop an understanding of its ramifications within the educational or treatment setting. We believe because gangs have become a fixture in youth culture, the influence of this mentality extends into the lives of troubled youth that may have only peripheral or indirect contact with gang culture. 

All our programs are fully customized and developed according to the unique situation within each particular setting. We believe that no organization requesting support should be denied, so fees and payment schedules are flexible and open to negotiation. 

Copyright © 1998, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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