Youth Empowerment

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed. ― Herman Melville

Empowerment Groups are for youth who are being isolated out of the mainstream and left feeling hopeless. Self identified gang member in school must be met with services that make sense in their cultural reality and the context of their lives.

The obstacle in completing school for gang youth is the inability to filter their frustrations and pain in another way other than violence. In a culture where tears and admissions of fear are signs of weakness there is little room for non violent responses. Gangs flourish in a society that forgets these are children living with the invisible scars of oppression. If society could see these youth as more than gang members, possibly youth can see themselves as more than gang members? We educate faculty in being aware of the stress many of these youth are under. This is a direct result of the families’ reality of poverty, hopelessness and disempowerment. CleanSlate provides counseling, school support and cultural education for youth and the faculty that directly interface with this population.

We are bringing the resources to the school, communities and self identified gang youth who have volunteered to become empowered through self awareness rather than through violence. They volunteer to participate in being heard, question how they fit into the redirection of their cultural relationship to issues of power. What they are willing to question is how power is attained. Can power be the ability to gain respect through understanding and acceptance rather than through fear? We are proposing ongoing Rage Resolution and Cultural Groups. We will focus on racial tensions and the politics of power. We maintain a network of volunteer therapists and mentors. Your financial support can make this program available to other students.

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