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Elmsford Joins Fight to Halt Teens Joining Gangs

To help thwart teenagers from joining street gangs, the Elmsford Southern Westchester Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) is hosting a gang prevention workshop. Led by gang prevention specialist Ron "Cook" Barrett , the May 27 workshop will teach attendees how to identify and deal with a suspected gang-affiliated student.

They will also learn what type of intervention works, as well as what strategies can be implemented by an educator, the community and the school system.

"I'm anticipating that it will be a highly successful workshop," said BOCES' Maureen Cahill, "and that people will be able to go back to their workplace to prevent and intervene in an appropriate way."

Since Cahill claimed Westchester County's gang problem is small, the seminar is more for prevention. Barrett's instructions will demonstrate what signs and symptoms to look for so that the gang rate does not spike.

Barrett is a 12-year gang prevention specialist with the city of Albany. He created the Capital Region Gang Prevention Program, which was recognized by the National Gang Crime Research Center .

Any educator in local chool districts can attend, as Southern Westchester BOCES provides staff development to teachers, counselors, and other school professionals.

Southern Westchester BOCES has held seminars on homelessness, sexting, and cyber bullying. In August, they will present "School of Belonging" about emotional safety and emotional violence.

The gang workshop will take place at 2 Westchester Plaza in Elmsford from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, contact Chelsea Karp at 914-345-8500, extension 136.

Have you been a victim of gang violence? Do you know someone who is involved in a gang? Please share your story.

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