‘Join Our Gang’ group offers gathering on jobs, education, homeownership for those seeking way out of streets

| December 8, 2015

Members of the “Join Our Gang” coalition include (Left to right) BACK ROW: Welton Dufor, Eric Jones, Leroy Jackson, Larry Gist, Tim Russell, Foundation One, Pastor Quincy McGhee and Andre Patterson; FRONT ROW: Karen Davis, Erma Belt, Evangelist Dorothy Nichols, Co-pastor Glenda Griffin, Elizabeth Ingol and Alice Kelsaw. Not pictured: Jonathan Ray, Chris Woods. [COURTESY PHOTO]

Members of the “Join Our Gang” coalition include (Left to right) BACK ROW: Welton Dufor, Eric Jones, Leroy Jackson, Larry Gist, Tim Russell, Foundation One, Pastor Quincy McGhee and Andre Patterson; FRONT ROW: Karen Davis, Erma Belt, Evangelist Dorothy Nichols, Co-pastor Glenda Griffin, Elizabeth Ingol and Alice Kelsaw. Not pictured: Jonathan Ray, Chris Woods. [COURTESY PHOTO]

FORT WAYNE—The word “gang” conjures up a host of negative connotations, particularly when it refers fortunes and fates of black youth in this community and nation. But, some months ago, a different kind of gang formed in Fort Wayne—one determined to cut a pathway to a better future for young people. And, they once again are issuing a community-wide invitation to join them.

A coalition of youth advocates—including the Fort Wayne Urban League, NAACP, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation, Women’s Ministerial Alliance, Changing Lives Outreach Ministries, New Beginnings Ministries, Throwing the Lifeline and Unity Barber Shop—collective known as “Join Our Gang,” are scheduled to host a “Jobs, Education, First Time Homeownership” gathering from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Dec. 19, at Changing Lives Outreach Ministry, 3109 Warsaw St.

According to Brother Foundation One, founder and owner of Unity Barber Shop and one of the organizers of the event, the purpose is to offer young people, especially gang members and ex-gang members alternatives the a destructive lifestyle in which they might be trapped. He said the event is designed to show them that there are people in the community who genuinely care about them and to introduce them to some of the resources available to help free them from the deadly circumstance of the streets. The event, he said, will include presentations on the Fort Wayne Urban League’s employment and training services, housing and economic development services and education and youth services.

Additionally, he said there will be a presentation on criminal record expungement that could help many young people clean up their past criminal records which might be a barrier to them furthering their employment and education futures.

To help demonstrate that they aren’t trapped in that lifestyle, former gang member Brother Deuane “Shakey” Carter is scheduled to make a presentation.

As organizer’s explained in an information flyer:

“Bro. Deuane ‘Shakey’ Carter is now dedicating his life to helping others find hope and a second change. He has a powerful message about choices, consequences, drugs, violence and gangs. His firsthand knowledge gives him an amazing ability to touch the hearts and open the eyes of trouble youth and young adults.

“This message is what ‘Join Our Gang’ would love to share with your group, church, parents, caregiver and our youth. Bro. Carter, who is our keynote speaker, is a true living example of how God can change lives. There is hope and there is a second chance.”

Brother Foundation said Carter  has given powerful testimony to that message in other venues and will do the same at the “Join Our Gang” gathering.

“He changed his life. He wants to give back to the community,” explained Brother Foundation One.

The event to the community, he said.

“Gang members, ex-gang members, family—everybody’s welcome,” said Foundation.

For more information call: Brother Foundation One at (260) 247-1019; NAACP President Larry Gist at (260) 515-1140, or Eric Jones of the Fort Wayne Urban League at (260) 745-3100.

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Category: Community, Courts and Justice, Crime & Safety, Education, Local

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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