What would compel a teen to join a gang? What circumstances would lead them to choose such a difficult, dangerous path?
Most teens just want a family. They want someone to listen to them. When their biological family isn’t around, some teens turn to gangs to find a sense of belonging. What they don’t understand is how hard gang life is and how far off track their lives can veer if they choose the path of a gang banger.
PREVENTING GANG INVOLVEMENT
Some things that you should know in an effort to prevent at-risk youth from joining gangs.
- Kids usually join gangs between 11-15 years old
- Prevention efforts are crucial
- Girls join gangs in large numbers
- Parents play a key role in prevention gang membership- Parents need to spend time with their kids, discourage bullying behaviors, identify positive role models, value education and listen and communicate with their children
- Early warning signs are involvement in graffiti, hanging out with kids in public places, neighborhood vandalism
Reasons youth join gangs:
- To gain an identity
- Protection from violence and attack from rival gangs
- For closeness and fellowship that is lacking in their lives- Peer Pressure
- Intimidation – being threatened
- Excitement of gang activity
- Poor self –concept- hope to improve their feeling of self-worth
- Fear safety of family and friends
- Excitement for taking risks
- Family members belong to a gang
ARISE Life Skills lessons offer teens the knowledge they need to escape gang life. Here are 5 ways ARISE helps reduce gang membership and violence:
- ARISE Life Skills lessons offer engaging, structured, easily understood lessons. Never boring or stuffy, always interactive, ARISE lessons offer a nonthreatening way for kids and teens to voice their opinions and learn in a fun environment. Often for the first time, the youth will feel understood, valued and listened to.
- ARISE Life Skills Lessons give at-risk youth the tools they need to escape gang life, stay out of prison and become successful, productive members of society. Some lessons include:
- Anger Management
- Dropout Prevention
- Conflict Resolution
- Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention
- Gun Awareness and Safety
- Domestic and Sexual Abuse
- How to Find a Job and Have a Successful Interview
- How to Manage Their Money
- Health and Hygiene
- and SO much more!
- ARISE Life Skills lessons are designed for youth who have difficulties with reading and writing. There are no run-on sentences or large, difficult words. Lessons are short, non-sequential and thought-provoking. No boredom means no acting out.
- ARISE trains staff members of juvenile justice facilities, churches, social agencies, afterschool programs, schools and law enforcement departments to be Certified ARISE Life Skills Instructors. Their training and experience gives them an opportunity to become mentors and confidants for the youth they interact with every day. If at-risk kids and teens have someone to confide in…a trusted adult role model…they are much less likely to join a gang in search of an open ear.
- ARISE lessons are taught in a group setting, giving the young participants experience listening to other viewpoints, voicing their own opinions in a constructive manner and working on activities as part of a team. Engaging in an ARISE group life skills lesson teaches youth important communication, mediation and listening skills that they can apply in their daily lives.
For more information on ARISE Life Skills Materials and Instruction, please visit:
ARISE Life Skills Curriculum materials