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Confronting gangs in Lodi: Jake McGregor, executive director, One-Eighty Teen Center

‘The lives of the young people who are at risk for gang involvement all have one thing in common: They haven’t included loving, supportive, engaged people who were willing to give the insane amount of time and copious amount of energy and ridiculous amount of patience it takes to show them a different way.’

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Posted: Thursday, April 5, 2012 12:00 am

A few weeks ago, an intern named Marc and I walked through the doors of the One-Eighty Teen Center gasping for air, grass stains on our knees, our shirts soaked with sweat. We had just come from an impromptu pick-up football game with about 20 teenage boys from the center and had gotten our tails handed to us. We looked exactly as we felt: like two out-of-shape old dudes.

Now as hard as it might be to believe, the fact that I had been run off the field by a bunch of pubescent boys wasn’t even the most humbling thing that happened to me that day.

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