In Roseland, one of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods, many residents stay off the streets to protect themselves from rampant gang violence.
But one grandmother opened her door and invited gang members to come inside. She hoped that by providing them with support and a place to go, she would ensure that her own daughter and other kids would be safe and focused on their futures, instead of local gangs.
In 2003, the mother of eight started a community center in her living room. Today, the building next door provides the haven she calls ‘Kids Off the Block’, with tutoring, mentoring, job training and other activities to keep young people off the streets.
“Our young people need help,” Latiker said. “All of them are not gang-bangers. All of them are not dropouts. But the ones that are, they need our help.”
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