California social worker uses “edutainment” to tackle gang problem
Melvin Valentine, Jr., a social worker who is based in the San Jacinto Valley in southern California, aims to reduce the impact of gang violence on his community by providing local youths with an alternative to crime, according to the The Press-Enterprise.
Valentine launched the Hemet Valley Gang Prevention (HVGP) initiative in an effort to combat the effects of gang culture on the area, which is located in Riverside County's third district. The program aims to teach local young people new skills that could prepare them for careers in the entertainment industry while appealing to the prevalent hip hop culture that many youths find attractive.
Skills workshops that are taught as part of the program include music production, lighting and videography. In addition to learning practical skills, participants in the program are provided with a purpose and tangible goals, which are intended to reduce the amount of time that they have to spend loitering on the streets.
"It's about taking the hip-hop culture and extracting the criminal element to educate them," said Valentine as quoted by the newspaper.
Increased demand for affordable housing, reductions in law enforcement budgets and local unemployment are significant contributing factors to the area's gang problems, according to the HVGP website.
The newspaper reports that Valentine's program has been praised by city officials and local law enforcement.
POSTED BY: ec_admin - July 26th, 2011 at 03:51pm ( 0 )