Kaleb Roberts

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To help a community open their eyes and see what they could be.

I want to start an event, volunteer based, that engages young people (under 21) to meet, talk, and be interested in talking to people with a different perspective. People here, are so closed minded. They were born and raised here, and have no idea of what the world holds in store. Local industry has essentially turned teenagers gangs where people are afraid to leave their houses at night. I want to form a program that helps teenagers through this difficult phase by coaching, teaching, and still being something they want to go to. Maybe base it at the skate park with some current music, with a mixture of people. I'm really not certain about anything other than that this has to change. Any input would be appreciated! Thanks you.

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    Dec 14 2012: I did not understand this sentence: "Local industry has essentially turned teenagers gangs where people are afraid to leave their houses at night."

    After school and evening programs and activities where teenagers can gather safely are a really common initiative in urban areas, at least, in the United States and, I expect, many other countries. This means some internet searching should yield lots of leads.

    Some cities have neighborhood community centers which are used mostly by elderly people or families with small children during the day and then shift to uses by teenagers or adults in the late afternoon and evening.

    Schools have after school programs which may be coordinated with the YMCA or funded by grants but housed in a school building.

    Our downtown art museum has some fridays as teen night out for arts activities and mixed age events including music and dancing.

    There is an arts organization here that gives mostly homeless youth an opportunity to organize their own musical productions and produce their own films, supported by grants.

    There is a writing center here, also grant supported, that has special events for teens to come and write together in the "coffeehouse."

    I don't know what religious organizations offer for young people who are not their members, but those may not work as well in drawing those who don't see themselves as church-connected.

    There are also non-profits that organize young people in regular community service opportunities.

    What all these have in common is that they engage young people in fruitful or expressive activities that can feel purposeful but clearly give a focus to the time. It is not just getting kids together to socialize.

    I don't know how diverse the collections of kids are that these activities draw, because they tend to build themselves into the neighborhoods where they are located, which then doesn't require anyone to have to deal with transportation.
  • Dec 17 2012: A few months ago I read an article about a city in Columbia, South America, that started building libraries. Afterward, the murder rate dropped by fifty percent. That was probably an extreme example, but I encourage you to pursue this idea. For teens the best guidance is often passive; its a matter of providing the right opportunities. You might get some nasty opposition from those gangs. Prepare for it, so they will not be able to dissuade you.
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      Dec 18 2012: Barry, I actually doubt gangs would oppose offerings of interesting activities for teenagers, except that members of rival gangs would likely not want to participate together. It's not like the Taliban trying to disrupt the education of girls.

      For example, in the years that I taught secondary school, I taught in locations that were in gang territory. The middle school had a very large after school program and the high school had a large teen center as well as being one block from a community center. I also taught one year in the after school program at the middle school and was often on the premises of the high school when my daughters were students there.

      We never had any interference from gangs. We did have security on the premises, during and after school.
      • Dec 18 2012: That is good. My thought was that some gangs might see the new social activities as competition for the time of individual gang members. Certainly hope it is not a problem.
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          Dec 18 2012: I am not an expert on this, but I don't think that is how it works. I think the challenge, rather, is to draw teens to the activities rather than to the gangs,, which offer a different kind of excitement, sense of belonging, sense of purpose, and opportunity for status.

          I also don't know whether gangs in Australia are similar at all to gangs in the US.
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    Dec 14 2012: You have chosen a difficult row to hoe Mr. Roberts. The problem is man's natural instinct is to avoid interacting with people who have a different perspective. Birds of a feather flock together. If crime is rampant there in Gladstone why don't you hold the law enforcement community accountable? Evil is rarely avoided by dialog. Bust the chops of these gangs who force people to hide after dark. Establish domestic tranquility. Take back the streets. Nil Carborundum Illigitimii!
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    Dec 14 2012: Collaborate with local churches.
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      Dec 14 2012: in order to spread open mindedness ... that's a fail
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        Dec 14 2012: Your expression is meant to show your open mindedness Mr. Pinter?
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        Dec 14 2012: Collaborating with local churches may actually be a good way to "change" teenagers and divert their attention from forming "gangs." It's a valid idea. I deas shalt not be suppressed.
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          Dec 14 2012: you might have a point. my theory goes as "there is no such thing as worst. there is always something worse". in that, and only in that sense, church might be a good solution,