Two detectives were shot in Northwest Miami-Dade Monday night. The detectives were staking out gang activity, a problem that some local programs are trying to stop by deterring kids from joining gangs. For example, NBC 6 has programs for kindergartners (more details about the program?). The idea is to reach them before they become tempted by the gang life.
Michael Nozile, CEO of Gang Alternative, Inc., grew up in Northwest Miami-Dade. Through many programs, including church ministry, he steered clear of the gangs that recruited in the Miami-Edison area in the 1980s.
“It was pretty rough at those times. We were known as the Cocaine Cowboys,” he said.
That church ministry grew into Gang Alternative, Inc. a $3 million social services program he now heads.
“We’re trying to create different things for our kids where we can reach them, so we help mentor them to make proper decisions that will help them succeed in life,” Nozile said.
But this is not an easy task. There are dozens of gangs on the streets of Northwest Miami-Dade, and in response, Miami-Dade police and the state attorney’s office have set up a task force to respond to every contact shooting in the area to try to get witnesses and victims to cooperate and testify. Without that, what happens on the streets stays on the streets. Monday night’s shooting triggered a memory for Nozile.
“I’ve seen that before,” he said. “Matter of fact a friend of mine who grew up in Gang Alternative got shot 26 times.”
One of the programs dedicated to his friend has up to 1,000 kids a day served by the group.
“Seeing the results, seeing the kids interacting with each other, seeing them engaging with each other, that’s what I look forward to,” Nozile said.
While based in Little Haiti, Gang Alternative, Inc. has sites from Homestead to North Miami and helps families as well as children.