Foundational relationships, like the ones formed with family, are central to character and personality development in young people.
The first and most influential relationship we have is with family, so social service organization Gang Alternative, Inc. (GA) begins there, making Family Strengthening one of their guiding Pillars of Service.
The goal of this pillar is to equip families in underserved communities with support programs focused specifically on children and parents to foster or maintain healthy relationships. In-home counseling and the Circle of Strength Parenting (COSP) program, for example, offer essential tools for creating a healthy home environment. After learning how to communicate better with COSP, Ester, a mother of one, says, “I am grateful [because the program helped] bring my relationship with my child closer.”
When family bonds are tested by traumatic events or negative circumstances, strengthening and repairing these relationships is important to a young person’s mental health and well-being.
Families impacted by abuse, neglect and violence are served by support groups, case management and more to facilitate the healing process through the organization’s UPLIFT program.
Health & Wellness is another of GA’s five Pillars of Service, providing prevention and intervention programs for both mental and physical wellbeing.
To manage mental health issues like anxiety or depression experienced by trauma survivors, the Circle of Strength program offers in-home therapy. Natasha, a 17-year-old participant in this program, has only been with GA for about four months, but she has already learned that prioritizing mental health and family strengthening is an important step toward achieving overall wellness.
Other program areas that deal with physical health include Screening, Testing, Education and Prevention Urban Partnership (STEP-UP) and Supporting Urban Populations with Prevention Opportunities to Reduce Transmission (SUPPORT), both designed to educate individuals 13 to 24 years old on safe sexual health practices.
To learn more about Gang Alternative, Inc. and how you can support their efforts, visit myga.org.