Marcos’ Story

In September 2009, 14-year-old Marcos was caught tagging by local police. Officers told Marcos’ father about PRIDE, who then enrolled him in the program.

In September 2009, 14-year-old Marcos was caught tagging by the captain of the LASD’s Norwalk station. Officers told Marcos’ father about PRIDE, who then enrolled him in the program.

Like most PRIDE participants, at first Marcos was none too thrilled about being required to join the program.

“I was so involved with drugs that I really didn’t care,” he says. “I had a bad attitude.”

His feelings about PRIDE quickly changed, however, after he and his classmates went on a field trip to the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail. A hardcore gang member tried to recruit Marcos, which scared him.
Since then, Marcos has turned his life around. He’s getting mostly As in school, stopped doing drugs, joined the school basketball team, and wants to be a police officer or join the army when he becomes an adult. Not only does he feel better about himself, so do the people around him. Many of his old enemies are now his friends.

“Now that I’m changing, a lot of people respect me more,” he says.
Of course, some people still remember Marcos’ former gang activities and don’t like him very much. Also, on occasion, his former friends will try to pressure him to resume his old ways.

“I just tell them ‘no’ because I’m doing my own thing,” he claims. “Sometimes I make up an excuse that I’m taking care of my little sisters.”
Marcos now spends a lot more time at his cousin’s house several miles away, where he doesn’t know anyone. This has enabled him to make a fresh start.

Marcos recommends that other kids avoid friends who do drugs or engage in gang activity.

“Stop kicking it with the wrong people because if you do, you’ll go down the wrong path like I did,” he advises. “There is a way to change, but it takes awhile. I thank God it only took me a couple of months.”

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  • Gang Prevention 101: A School Approach 
  • Kyli’s Story
  • How to Start Your Own Youth Intervention Program
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    About the Author

    robin hattersley headshot

    Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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