By Danielle Neuwirth, THE CONSPIRACY, newvoices.org
In the spring semester of my junior year, Jose* started hanging out with my friend group. The problem was he also hung out with local gang members.
Jose was from south of Worcester, Massachusetts. As a fellow Puerto Rican, he came to me for assistance when he was kicked out of his home, hoping to change course. And as a Worcester State University student, he knew my school offers help to college students struggling with gangs. Jose tried to get help from my professors, but he was too far into gang life to make his way out. While trying to help Jose, I met his friend Pablo*, who wanted assistance, as well. This is how I began working with students involved in gang activity – and embarked on hopefully a lifelong career of social work.