The Alternative: Gang Suppression Project
Who we serve: Youth ages 14-18 who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school
Where: Little Haiti
Goal: To prevent or reduce gang violence
Life has challenges, especially during a pandemic. Just having a roof over our heads and food to eat can sometimes be a struggle. Looking beyond immediate needs and towards the future is only possible by taking control of your life through your thinking.
Youth join gangs for protection, enjoyment, respect, money or because they have a friend or relative in a gang. Sometimes it’s simply a lack of opportunity and options. To prevent this, communities must strengthen their families and schools, improve community supervision, train teachers and parents to manage high-risk youth and teach students better ways to conduct themselves and communicate.
Teaching positive ways to deal with life’s challenges is a focus of The Alternative: Gang Suppression Project. Addressing the personal, family and community factors that contribute to juvenile delinquency and gang activity is within Gang Alternative’s (GA) Five Pillars of Service - Positive Youth Development.
Eligible youth are those at-risk of aggressive behavior and/or exhibiting behavioral issues, youth on probation, and gang members returning to the community after confinement. GA understands that and provides an environment that builds youth up and supports them in learning new skills that lead to healthier lives.
GA has many activities that empower youth, including after-school programming on weekdays and meetings on weekends. The after-school program focuses on preventing drug use, delinquency, anti-social behavior, drop-out prevention and dealing with family issues. Youth also have access to GA’s Registered Apprenticeship Program in construction, receiving on-the-job training while being paid fair wages.
Two additional aspects of The Alternative are the Multi-Agency Community Task Force and the Multi-Disciplinary Implementation Team, which both meet on a regular basis. The Alternative promotes positive values and teaches skills to help youth transition to productive adult lives. No youth deserves to be left behind.
Funded by the Office of Juvenile justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).