Folgert considered the question carefully, then answered: “Many of them feel they have nothing to lose. The ones who have given up. Nobody starts out wanting to be a gang member, nobody starts out wanting to be afraid that somebody’s going to shoot them…our part of it is prevention and diversion. If we can get kids from families that have relatives, brothers, or cousins who are gang members, we can keep them out of gangs.”
That’s the mission at the Collaborative, a mission made even more difficult by a pandemic that closed the center for weeks, leaving teens who typically head to their Fields Corner space with no place to turn.