“If it wasn’t for GA, I would probably be in jail or dead.”
These words are the reflection of one young man about South Florida community program, Gang Alternative Inc. (GA), getting to the heart of why the group’s services are an important refuge and resource for many in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. As an all-encompassing outreach and social service program, GA is saving lives. In 2020 alone, its services benefited nearly 15,000 people in 83 ZIP codes.
The nonprofit evolved from a former church ministry following a pattern of high crime in Miami in the late 1980s. Incorporated in 2005, GA has evolved into a wrap-around service provider that develops resources to dismantle the “gang mentality” that controls individuals and families in South Florida’s inner-city communities.
Where possible, GA takes the approach of intervening with positive influence early on. Twenty-five programs on the organization’s current roster give participants the tools they need to improve life skills and build healthier relationships. This South Florida community program also offers reform programs and behavioral health services like therapy and trauma recovery. Beyond the initial interactions, they consistently develop and introduce intuitive services that support youth and families in implementing the skills taught through their programs.
“If it wasn’t for GA, I wouldn’t be focused on school,” said a young woman who described the organization as a safe haven. “ I wouldn’t have resources, and I wouldn’t have a family I could come to whenever I need to talk to someone.”
To change destructive mindsets of youth and young adults and to improve their home environments, GA works with people of various ages and their families in a holistic way. Aside from workforce development for the participant, they focus on broader issues like family strengthening, health knowledge and many other services.
Gang Alternative, Inc. is more than just hope for the better. They have numerous success stories that prove their programs work.
“GA helped me to stop being a follower and become a leader,” said one person who now gives advice to other communities.
To donate, volunteer or learn more about Gang Alternative, Inc., the South Florida community program changing lives, visit MyGA.org.