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Daily Archives: October 6, 2017

Risky Business: What High-Risk Kids Can Teach Us About Connecting

On my first day of work at the community center, I wasn’t nervous. After all, I’d supervised youth “delinquents” in corrections programs; I’d worked juvenile probation. I knew this gang-run neighborhood was teeming with kids who had few choices, and even fewer resources. I knew exactly what they needed: structure, guidance, mentoring. To say no to drugs and yes to education. I expected to put in 2–3 years and move up and out. I was not expecting Marco. Marco was not impressed with me or my college education. He was living a life I could barely comprehend: he’d been stabbed, beaten, set on fire and burned (on purpose) with an iron. In the first year I worked there, he was shot at, hit by a car and “violated” by his gang — meaning they’d taken turns beating him with their fists over some rule…