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Program helps Colorado youths transition from juvenile justice system

A Colorado Springs program called G-Life helps youths emerge from the juvenile justice system, and the success of the program in Colorado Springs has helped lead to a similar program in Pueblo.

G-Life is a gang prevention program and it aims to help young people who have committed juvenile crimes transition from the juvenile justice system back to the community. Many of the young people the program helps live in a halfway house. Even though youths who go through the juvenile justice system are expected to be productive individuals afterward, many encounter a community and schools and families that are not as supportive as desired. According to the leader of the G-Life program in Pueblo, many of the youths are candidates for gang activity because of the lack of support.

To help the youths in transition, the program provides role models, guidance and entertainment with the objective to help youths find a purpose and become motivated. The leader and two outreach workers that work for the program are former gang members and have spent time behind bars. The outreach workers share life stories and provide a lifeline to the youths who need it most.

The leader of the program says many parents of youths who go through the juvenile justice system have limited resources and G-Life is a resource for them to rely on.

Every week the program provides dinner and two hours of fellowship afterward. Fellowship is sometimes held on a basketball court outside. G-Life also hosts events. The program has hosted a known rapper and a hair stylist provides free haircuts every other week.

The program helps any youth in need. G-Life accepts referrals from parents and guidance counselors and walk-ins.

Source: chieftain.com, "Gang-prevention program hopes to turn young lives around," Loretta Sword, Dec. 11, 2011

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