However, the turning point was when a member of staff shared a personal gang related tragedy in her life. Up until this point the members considered that gangs and gang related incidents only affected them and other young people. This coupled with the fatality of young person began to make their bravo lead behaviour change to a more honest and heart felt response to the topics raised.
It was clear that many of the young people were buying into the gang life but were not really living it themselves. However, this is the danger of how some young people start of into the gang culture. They start on the periphery and are then slowly drawn in. However, they were aware of all the rules and regulations of gang life. Some of the young people kept saying ‘this is a way of life and it cannot be changed’.
Some of the members demonstrated a desire to do what their peers were doing even though they themselves were not engaged in the activities. This was another danger discussed with the members as this was shown to them how easy it is to be drawn into the gang culture by an attraction the negative elements of gang life. Furthermore, the members seemed to buy into defending their friends even when they are wrong.
The behaviour of the young people by the end of the sessions had dramatically improved. It was hard to believe that these young people were identified as hard core non participators in anything educational. Everything that we presented to them they actively engaged in and volunteered to help staff – after the first session.