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14 Sep 14 - 21:15

Getting to chicago's boys before gangs do In some of chicago's troubled neighborhoods, it's not unusual for boys to join gangs at a young age.For many, it's a road fraught with violence. But a group called becoming a man(Bam)Is working on getting to those youngsters before they're drawn into gang life or drop out of school. Tony divittorio, a 42 year old, muscular and tattooed social worker, created bam in 2003 in an effort to mentor boys.He says young males are often more likely than females to be victims or perpetrators of violent crime. The mission At little village academy in chicago, eighth grade boys wearing dark pants with gray polo shirts or gym t shirts pour into the school gymnasium for their weekly bam session.Divittorio watches as the boys collect folding chairs. "Set up a circle right here, along the black line.A big circle,"He tells them. Bam operates in 16 chicago public high school and elementary schools.The students are often at risk of failing, have behavior problems or have no positive male role models in their lives. The bam counselors conduct clinical assessments, provide individual counseling if needed and consult with teachers.The boys place paper plates on the floor and then use the plates as stepping stones to gingerly navigate their way over imaginary lava. The goal is for everyone to get across. Divittorio demonstrates by throwing a plate on the floor, stepping on it and lifting his foot to advance to a second plate while another bam counselor steps on the first.It's a coordinated dance, and the boys try to follow suit. The students strategize.They wobble and lean and stretch to reach the paper plates, one after the other.Sometimes, it can get a little precarious as they misstep and tumble into the pretend pool of lava. Divittorio asks the students what they should do differently.One suggests that they hold hands or hold each other up. It's a fun activity for the boys, but social worker divittorio is thinking clinically. "The real purpose of a group mission is group cohesion,"He says. "As a facilitator, i'm looking to see how they're respecting each other, how they're working together.If they pass it or they fail, at the end we talk about it.We talk about what their successes were [and] if there was blaming going on.Then we start to generalize ralph lauren femme that outside of the group. " The boys earn rewards like field trips or free time in the gym when they complete a set number of missions.At the end of this one, divittorio asks the students what made them successful.They answer that it was teamwork. Gun violence and gangs ralph lauren france The 13 and ralph lauren Match Polo 14 year old bam members know many their age that have joined gangs. At least 15 students who attend chicago public schools have died by gunfire during this school year.The number is higher for kids who are either dropouts or go to other types of schools. Chicago police report that the number of school aged children shot to death in 2010 was 70. "Three days ago, i saw a cop and i heard that someone was shot, a gangbanger, because he was in a gang,"Salgado says. Divittorio says the violence in the neighborhood makes one aspect of bam critical.He calls it"Men's work,"Where students sit in a circle and discuss their feelings a topic that many consider taboo, he says. "It's very ralph lauren home france challenging.It's very confrontational,"Divittorio says. "And it's based on this idea that there are no standardized rites of passage.There's no way for a boy to become a man in our society that's standard. " During the session, divittorio talks to the boys about integrity.He focuses on 14 year old armando isaula. A year ago, when isaula was in the seventh grade, he used to fight other students and disrupt classes because he"Didn't really care,"Isaula says. Now in eighth grade, he has changed his attitude, and most of his teachers praise him.But divittorio recently got word from a teacher that isaula was still misbehaving in one classroom.

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