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Together! For Youth blog

Taking A Stand: Gangs and Social Media


There has been an increase of social media use within gangs. They are starting to promote their activities, their recruitment requirements, their general interests on several internet outlets such as Facebook and Instagram. Gang involvement in United States are becoming of a serious concern because it is widespread from high school kids to elementary children and it was not from community recruitment but through using the internet. An example is presented from this article by The Telegraph, a newspaper hailing from United Kingdom, focusing on the survey conducted by the US journal Justice Quarterly; “Remarkably, more than half of gangsters polled in the report stated that their gang had its own social media page, where videos were posted, usually for some sort of mild PR: threatening other gang members, appearing in rival turf, or generally trying to look badass by posting pictures of themselves with guns, swag et cetera.”


This meant that the gangs’ demeanor changed from private to public and they knew they had an increased risk of getting captured by the police. This also means that the children of various ages were allowed to view their pages and possibly have the opportunity to join their gangs. It had enabled the youth of the community wherever they are the ability of being a full-time gang member, drop out of school, and be in accordance with gang rules. Another example of gang groups being in the spotlight were noticed of “The Very Crispy Gangsters” and “The Rockstarz” located in the United States, had posted on their facebook page stating their rival war and boasted about the murders/retaliation that had taken place. “Up 3 – 0 “ were posted by a Rockstarz member which is to display that three gang members of Crispy had been killed by them. Social Media is an outlet that has an easy outlook on one’s life especially when it is publicized purposely such as what several gang groups had done to their benefit.


To ensure that your child does not give into the participation of a gang member, please regularly check their internet habits and who they socialize outside of school. Not only that, make sure that your child is aware of the dangers within the internet and or they could be subject to be victimized. Open communication is one of the suggestions for you and your child. If you would like to have more information, please do not hesitate to stop by the Together! Office.



Source is obtained from:

Taking a Stand: Celebrity Matthew Perry's Story


One having a problem with substance abuse, such as specific drug addiction, is an especially serious & fragile issue for one to overcome in their lives. A lot of people are stuck in a purgatory of difficulty to resist addictive substances, however there are not plenty of stories to go around, educating others of the horrendous negativity towards their usage.


As of now, more celebrities who had been through hardship with their substance issues, are revealing words of how they had risen above the addiction and made it through recovery. With that being said, recovering celebrities are indeed a great models of one to reduce and abolish substance addiction in their lives because it is one of the "famous someones" in this world. For the users to see that celebrities are not always perfect is a wonderful boost for one's self esteem, and gives them faith that they are able to move forward in their lives such as celebrities has done.


I selected Matthew Perry as our first celebrity role model, not because he was a great character in the television show, Friends but because he had serious issues with drug addiction, alcohol abuse and struggled with depression whilst on his tenure with Friends. Can you imagine, going to work everyday knowing that you have a secret that you cannot help but to hide from people, and suffering all on your own? (If you can imagine that, then yes, please come into the Together! For Drug Free Youth Office and let one of us help you discover places of treatment and provide you with appropriate information.)


From this article by ABC News, Perry mentioned, "Mostly it was drinking, you know, and opiates," Perry told ABC. "I think I was pretty good at hiding it but, you know, eventually people were aware."


He had since then, told media outlets that their coverage on his problems had aided him in fulfilling his recovery process. So which means that if there is someone that you know out there, that has a problem with substance abuse, do not hesitate to always help them out and encourage them on building a positive recovery process. The 43-years-old have been helping out another addicts finding their path to sobriety, and transformed his former place in Malibu, California into a "sober house" for men who struggles with addiction, it is called "The Perry House." Last May, he also was honored with an award, Champion of Recovery for his continued hard work and success within his addiction and recovery.


More information is from this article:

Informative Article: Drug Education and Prevention for your Teen


This is a great article for parents to read about substance abuse awareness, series of educational resources about recovery and other drug-related issues regarding teenagers; written by Michelle Conway and her colleague.


“In our articles and blog posts we are trying to help as many families as possible, by providing them with some resources about drugs and alcohol.” – Ms. Conway

Taking A Stand: Celebrities and Gang Involvement


Celebrity gang involvement is certainly an unfortunate information that all of people would come across when one researches. There are several of reasons why a celebrity was in a gang, or had formed a gang. Having a celebrity admit they were once affiliated with gangs create plethora of obscene opinions and articles regarding their past behavior and of how they had overcame the issues.


To fully comprehend the celebrity involvement of gangs, one must take a step back and take a view into their lives. For example, Ice T was allegedly a gang member and he decided to clear his conscience by admitting his endeavors to National Public Radio that he and his friends had created a gang in High School in order to keep larger gangs from bothering them. This is plausible since he had created, joined and provided a sense of security for himself and other boys who did not want to be a part of a gang. Another example of celebrity involvement is Lil’ Wayne, who has yet to admit if he is actually a part of Bloods gang. The evidence is present in his song, “I’m Bloodied”, “Fuck with my Bloods, get blood on your clothes and I’m blooded soo-woo.” It is considered as plausible because “soo-woo” is a popular phrase with the Bloods gang. D.L. Hughley was a teenager when he was a part of the well-known television cast, Dancing with the Stars and reported that he was a part of the Bloods gang. Apparently, the Bloods gang were a favorite among rappers and celebrities because The Game reported to HOT 107.9 (a radio station) that he had joined the Bloods because “they were cool.”


Their reasons range from protection, simply because they wanted to be awesome, or that they felt they needed to learn the disciplines of an organized group. Nevertheless, celebrity involvements within gangs are incredibly increasing and they are often known to reveal their affiliations. Therefore parents with children that have interests into that type of culture, needs to be sure that their child is not walking into a problematic system. 

E-Cigarettes Information


“E-cigarettes are plastic or metal tubes, usually the size of a cigarette, that heat a liquid nicotine solution instead of burning tobacco. That creates vapor that users inhale. Smokers like e-cigarettes because the nicotine-infused vapor looks like smoke but doesn’t contain the thousands of chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes. Some smokers use e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking tobacco, or to cut down. However, there’s not much scientific evidence showing e-cigarettes help smokers quit or smoke less, and it’s unclear how safe they are.” A statement from The Associated Press newspaper elaborating on evidence that e-cigarettes companies has failed to provide information on whether the materials are deemed as safe for recreational use. It is also noticeable that failure in establishing rules by the FDA had created this widespread commodity of e-cigarettes because students of varied ages such as nine year olds are able to buy. Not only that, but sales has estimated to have reached approximately $2 billion in 2013, one of the highest “drug” sales.


Opposing e-cigarettes are the famed well-known drugs, Marijuana, that studies has been since announced that there are potential risks for heart attack or strokes in young people. “1,979 patients for serious health problems associated with the use of marijuana, nearly 2% of them were patients suffering from cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia and stroke.” Studies in France over a five year period has proved that quarter of the cases patients had died and were regular marijuana users. In the article by Los Angeles Times,  it mentioned of Dr. Robert Koloner asking, “Do we really know enough about the cardiovascular effects of marijuana to feel comfortable about its’ use in patients with known cardiovascular disease or patients with cardiovascular risk factors?” It had pressed the cardiologists to consider marijuana as one of the potential causes of cardiovascular diseases.


The evidence is overwhelmingly convincing, there are enough trials and assumptions to accuse e-cigarettes or marijuana damaging our inner organs. To encourage one the reduction of usages, is to also encourage them to participate in activities that do not require the use. It is also necessary to indulge the users in daily life involvements, such as volunteering for the local humane society, to increase their mentality and reality. 

Taking A Stand: Personal Gang Story


The first sight a parent or any internet viewer would see when they search the website of is their heartwarming motto, “Have hope.  Using the same skills that work for professionals, you can manage life with the troubled child, and you and your family can thrive at home.” In one of the intercepts of the article by Margaret Puckette on the website, a true story of a single father worried about his son’s gang involvement while he was still on probation. The father had thoughts of additional charges after that fact and it would have drawn lengthy prison time for his son. He was concerned to the point where he decided that it would be best to sell the family home, moved to a neighborhood that was “run down” from the opposing gang. After a couple of tumulus struggles, the boy avoided his neighborhood and his “gang brothers” by attending school daily and finding extracurricular activities to reduce the time of being at home. In the end, his father did the right thing because his son graduated high school and left the area to go to college, with a clean record and new respect for his father.



It is truly important to have family involvement when the child is in gangs because it is a sign that the child does not feel safe or comfortable in his own home. If your child happened to be involved in a gang and was charged for his crimes, ensure that you are doing everything as a family member to give support. For example, a parent or guardian should be an active partner with the court by cooperating fully with officials. The parent/guardian should show up to every proceeding, such as parenting classes, even though you might think you don’t need them. Not only support, but you should also have respect for officials by standing with their decisions on the charges and be cooperative. Do not be afraid to change your ways and the decision to stick with your child, it is the support that will lift the child to higher goals.



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