Career Story: Program Coordinator For A Gang Intervention Program

Program Coordinator For A Gang Intervention Program

Job Title: Program Coordinator

Education: BS in Organizational Management, Paul Quinn College •• AAS in Drafting Design Technology, Tarrant County Junior College

Previous Experience: I started as a teacher's aide. Working with at-risk girls and young ladies, instilling in them opportunities given to them. I went on to become a teacher for them. The next postion was at the recreation center on a military installation, working with military personnel and their dependants. I also worked for both the City Water Department and the US Army Corps of Engineers doing drafting and design work for over 18 years. During this time, I volunteered as a Girl Scout Leader and Youth Sports Coach, working with youth from an at-risk neighborhood.

Job Tasks: Currently, I am the Program Coordinator for a gang intervention program. This postion is with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Fort Worth.

In this position, I am required to work with a minimum of 35 members daily. I, along with three part-time staff persons, assist and direct the members in making life changes. This is extremely import because the members that my staff and I work with are actual self professed gang members, with an age range of 13-24 years old.

The life changing opportunities we assist with are to help the gang members return to school, recieve a high school diploma and/or GED, complete a semester of college, get certified in a trade, retain employment for 90 days, and join the Armed Forces or Job Corps.

We also provide classes that will assist them in life. These classes vary between GED classes, Homework/Tutoring, Goal Setting, Career Exploration, College Preparation and Parenting Classes.

We have them complete two Communiy Service projects monthly. These projects allow the members to give back to the community where their gang activity has done the most harm.

When the members complete a specialized training program, they are assisted in securing a job and getting transportation to and from work may be provided for 90 days to give them the opportunity to complete a probationary period.

In our college preparation classes, student explore on-line the requirements for college enrollment, financial aid requirements, and college tours. While on tour of the campus, we visit the surrounding area, to allow them full effect.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is seeing the member complete the life change and make the connection that separate themselves from the gang mentality.

The worst part is when a member doesn't make the change and then "ages out" of the program, only to return years later seeking assistance from the program.

Job Tips:
1. Have a heart, and you can't harden it when tey let you down.

2. Listen twice as much as you talk, if you don't know why tey joined the gang, you can't direct them in making a change.

3. Be creative, everyone is not the same.

4. Don't let member disappointment stop you.

5. Learn from your mistakes.

6. Don't give up on them, society has already done so.

7. Realize that you can't want more for them than they want for themselves.

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