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David

Age 19, Santa Ana

I was raised in Santa Ana my whole life. In our city, youth join their “neighborhood” (aka gangs) because that’s all they see when they leave their home. You go to school and there’s gang-banging, graffiti on the street, there are gangs on every corner, so it’s rare to see people who are trying to help you. The “neighborhoods” don’t force you to join, but show you the stuff you want in life, the money and power.

Make a youth development department, and we’ll show you what we’re capable of.

I didn’t know there were organizations or people who wanted to help us. One day my mom brought me into one of these community circles, and I liked it. Once that circle was over, my mom introduced me “Nacho” from Resilience OC, and he invited me to Joven Noble. I went to the circle and started liking it and seeing people with the same life I was living and the same situation. I decided to leave the gang life and started helping out the community. Now I’m a part of the National Youth Alliance of Boys and Men of Color. I mostly speak to funders so they can fund youth development campaigns and organizations that support others in need.

Youth join their “neighborhood” (aka gangs) because that’s all they see.

One thing I’m trying to solve right now is the lack of resources. I asked the mayor to create a Youth Development Department and when I go to City Council meetings that’s what I tell them, even though they pretend they don’t hear me. I tell them – Make a youth development department and we’ll show you what we’re capable of. 

One thing I’m trying to solve is the lack of resources.

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