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Community News: Southwest

CRENSHAW : Getting to the Root of Gang Problems

July 18, 1993|ERIN J. AUBRY

A new consortium of community groups is focusing on the root causes of gang activity and offering education and job training to local gang members.

Operation RUG (Rooting Up Gangs) began last month to offer gang members a job preparation training and placement program.

Founder Elmore Richmond, 43, said the consortium will examine the lack of education and opportunities for personal growth, high-crime environments and social and spiritual underdevelopment as the causes of gang activity.

Of the 100-plus community groups invited to join the consortium, 12 have agreed thus far to participate, including the anti-gang groups Hands Across Watts and Amer-I-Can.

"In the past, we haven't thought about the gang problem as a management problem," said Richmond, a human-relations consultant. "With this program, we identify the risks first, then focus on the individual."

The Personal Redirecting Program provides a 40-hour self-evaluation course in which gang members examine their backgrounds, address personal problems and clarify individual goals.

After completing the course, participants will move on to 40 hours of job readiness training, then vocational training at Bondage Busters, a nonprofit homeless aid agency that also offers employment training. Operation RUG shares its quarters with Bondage Busters at 4433 Crenshaw Blvd.

Information: (213) 299-4893.

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