03/21/06 — Boys and Girls Club launches gang prevention program

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Boys and Girls Club launches gang prevention program

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on March 21, 2006 1:45 PM

The Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County is launching a new gang and violence prevention program called Street Smart.

Club officials say a National Crime Victimization Survey shows juveniles ages 12 to 17 are nearly three times as likely as adults to become victims of violent crimes. And the Federal Bureau of Investigation reveals that one in five violent crimes committed by juveniles occur during afternoon hours, after school.

To help combat these trends, the club is implementing the national Boys & Girls Club's gang and violence prevention program. Street SMART educates pre-adolescents ages 11 to 13 about the destructive lifestyle of gangs, avoiding conflict and developing resistance and refusal skills.

Marvin Ford, the unit director at the Paley Unit on Royall Avenue in Goldsboro, said club officials know the members are safe when they are in the club.

But he said the staff members' concern is "what happens to them on their way to and from our facility. This program will help our members become street smart. That means avoiding gangs and resolving disputes with words instead of guns and teaching their peers how to do the same."