Winning the War against Youth Gangs: A Guide for Teens, Families, and Communities

Winning the War against Youth Gangs: A Guide for Teens, Families, and Communities

Winning the War against Youth Gangs: A Guide for Teens, Families, and Communities

Winning the War against Youth Gangs: A Guide for Teens, Families, and Communities

Synopsis

Gangs have spread throughout the entire sector of society, and what was once viewed as an inner-city problem can now be found everywhere, including suburbia. This guide for teenagers, their families, and impacted communities addresses the youth gang issue in understandable, manageable terms. Quotes from teens themselves provide valuable insight into the problems that can cause kids to join gangs: absent parents, the need for excitement or to belong to a group, following in the footsteps of family members who are involved in gangs. These factors and others are explored (including an examination of the workings of the adolescent mind), and sound solutions are suggested to help kids resist gang membership.

Excerpt

One of the greatest adventures for an author involves the growth of ideas from one book to the next. My experiences in writing for youths and their families are not unlike those of many other authors who write about a particular subject area.

In 1995, I wrote my first book about youth and family issues, Gang Free: Friendship Choices for Today's Youth. The book deals with how teenagers build their first friendships of choice, how they pick the groups they join, and how they resolve their basic social needs during adolescence. It is a comprehensive look at the issues of adolescence from the perspective of teens and their families. Because of Gang Free, I moved to the issue of gangs and continue to work with media and community organizations throughout the United States and Canada to help resolve gang-related issues.

In 1997, while I was serving my first session as a Nevada state senator, Greenwood Publishing Group approached me to write a book for school and public libraries. They asked for a book that would focus on how to keep youths from joining gangs and how to help disengage those who had already joined. I agreed. After I completed my legislative session, I immersed myself in this book project, and Winning the War Against Youth Gangs: A Guide for Teens, Families, and Communities took seed.

I read several dozen books on the youth gang issue and conducted original research with youths in nine states, representing every region and type of neighborhood in the country. Young people--270 of them--who come from both healthy and unhealthy family and community environments participated. To secure information from them in the most candid way, I as-

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