Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Stop knives save lives: Teenagers who have turned their lives around

With 21 teenagers murdered in the capital alone this year, we ask three young people who turned to violence why they’ve left gang life behind. They’re now appealing for other kids to follow their example.

'My old friends think I’ve gone soft'
It took a prison stretch for possession of a firearm for Luke, 21, to see the light...

'I realised intimidating people won’t get you far'
Ashanti, 19, was expelled from three schools and arrested for a street robbery but now thinks education is the key...

'Violence ain’t gonna make me any money'
Dwayne, 18, used to carry knives and guns for protection. Now he is training to mentor kids at risk of joining gangs...

What can parents do?
- Communication is key – know what you want to talk to your child about and deal with it confidently.
- If they’re coming in late find out where they’ve been and keep track of them by calling their mobile.
- Keep regular contact with their school.
- If they start buying new clothes or DVDs, ask where they are getting the money from.
- Ask who their friends are and suggest they invite them home.
- If you suspect they are involved in gangs, talk to them about the consequences.
- Find something your kids are interested in.
- Get help from council youth workers or your community police support officer.

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