WFCR has been following efforts to deal with Springfield's gang problem. Yesterday reporter Karen Brown focused on the Springfield Police Department; this morning AWAKE was profiled in their work to intervene before gang violence takes place.
The story gave a good picture of how outreach workers approach young people and ask them, among other things, if they'd like to apply for a summer job. (They have applications with them.) They encourage young people to stay away from gangs, stay in school, and improve their grades. Because the outreach workers are not coming from a punitive or "Holier than thou" position, but more a "Been there, done that (and wish I hadn't)" place, they are able to develop a rapport with kids where others may fail.
I must say, in spite of my wariness of Executive Director Chelan Brown's campaign for state rep, that this is exactly the kind of violence prevention work that is likely to succeed.