The Square Street Gang - FamilyEducation

The Square Street Gang

February 11,2010
Talia's Blog
Talia Rivera

Talia Rivera is a 33-year-old mother of two. As Executive Director of Villages without Walls, she works with high-risk gang members in Boston. [Read more]

A probation office referred me to Mr. Kramer. Mr. Kramer's 15-year-old son was a heavily involved gang member. Connecting with the son was crucial. He could bring me into the gang. I did a home visit. Mr. Kramer was in his 60's. He was weak, sluggish, and walked slung over his cane. Kramer Jr. wasn't home. Mr. Kramer and I sat on the couch. We talked about his son. "His mother left us." His voice trembled. "I had Kramer Jr. since his infancy." "He's had trouble in school. He's slow. He has a learning disability." Kramer Jr. was once arrested with a gun and crack. I visited him at the Department of Youth Services. We talked about his case. I told him, "Your bail is $100,000." He said, "My father can come up with that money." I explained the difference between $1,000 and $100,000. James didn't understand numbers. But he understood the streets. Then Kramer Jr. walked in with two friends who were twins. Kramer Jr. was short. He looked like he was 10-years-old. His eyes squinted like he might have Down syndrome. "Sit down," I said. His twin friends sat down too. I told Kramer Jr. about the work I do. Then someone knocked on the door. One of the twins answered it. He stepped out into the hall. I knew what was happening, but I doubted if Mr. Kramer knew of the drug deal. I continued. The twin came back in and sat down. Kramer Jr. filled out an intake form. The twins asked for forms too. That was when I realized who the twins were. This is how the work begins. I would soon be with the Square Street Gang.
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