BUFFALO, NY – Buffalo's Peacemakers are actively working with 40 gang members in Buffalo, helping them to remove barriers and get out of the gangs they belong to, for good.
Pastor James Giles says he finds teens as young as 14 years old join gangs to belong to a family for stability,shelter, and in some cases protection.
There are well over a dozen well known gangs in Buffalo, from the Bailey Boys to the 10th Street gang.
The intervention includes working with the young teens on a plan for departure, to avoid direct confrontations,
and then putting them in a better social setting, helping them get back in school and find jobs.
Pastor Giles says PTSD is common among gang members, a reason counseling is key during intervention.
"Having someone, and alternatives to lifestyles, giving them a reason and opportunity to come out, because a lot of times, many of them, I'm talking about 70 percent of the brothers rolling, don't really want to be doing this every day," Pastor Giles explains.
The model is similar to Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, an organization that helps 10,000 former gang members each year, with a wide variety of services ranging from tattoo removal to anger management counseling.