Breaking out of gang life

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Breaking out of gang life

If your son or daughter is involved in a gang, there are certain things that you can do. First of all, keep in mind that leaving a gang is dangerous. Often times young men and women get jumped out of a gang, which means that they are going to be beaten in order to leave. Make sure that your son is aware, and have a plan of action. Be able to crate connections with adults that are leaders in the community, teachers, your preacher, other people that your son might look up to. Let your son talk to these individuals about his plan of leaving. The more adults that know about your plan, the better insulated you're going to be against these dangers. It's also very important for you to go up to the hierarchy of the gang and talk to the captain about your decision to leave. Often times, if you're upfront and you honestly talk about what the gang has meant to you, thank them for your participation, thank them for their connection, for their protection, talk about how they have meant something to you, but let them know that now it's time for you to take a different course of action, that you'd like to change your life and you'd like to be more involved with your family. It's very important that your children have this level of conversation because it will reduce their level of risk. It's also very important for you to recognize that the triggers that most often repeat this type of violent behavior or gang behavior is people, places, and circumstances. So often times if you have the potential or the ability to change the environment for a few weeks, it really will help your son have a new start. Perhaps taking a vacation with a relative that lives out of state or out of the country might be a good time to be able to have that break. Whatever you do, stay connected and stay involved. Your participation makes a difference.

Watch Jorge Partida, PsyD's video on Breaking out of gang life...


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Jorge Partida, PsyD


Dr. Jorge Partida is a Psychologist, Green Advocate and Indigenous Healer. He was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and immigrated to Chicago at nine years of age. Dr. Jorge has been a consultant on many national and international projects in the areas of education, health, diversity and spirituality.  Dr. Jorge has worked with local and national governments to coordinate services for those most impacted by poverty, war and displacement.  He has worked in Liberia Africa in the repatriation of boy soldiers and has worked to form “intentional communities” in poverty impacted countries of Latin-America.

Dr. Jorge is the author of The Promise of The Fifth Sun and A Week of Awakening.  His writing integrates psychology with native healing traditions to form an easy to use self-help approach.  Dr. Jorge has designed and facilitated healing workshops that incorporate ritual and practice. 

Dr. Jorge has served as Director of the PsyD program at John F. Kennedy University and as Deputy Director of Behavioral Health with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.  Today, Dr. Jorge is the Executive Director of the United States Green Building Council-Los Angeles (USGBC-LA).  He believes that the discussion of sustainability provides a platform to address today’s most complex issues. 

For more than twenty years, Dr. Jorge has presented mental health segments on television and radio. He has worked with many networks, including Univision, Telemundo, HITN-TV in Spanish and CBS, UPN, NBC and PBS in English. 

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