Member Agency Story

A Gang Member Becomes a Mentor Helping Others Avoid Life on the Streets

A story about featuring Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County

Jose has seen what life in a gang had to offer, but got out of life on the streets thanks to Catholic Charities. Now, he’s mentoring youth in the neighborhood he grew up in, helping them avoid the gang lifestyle.

Jose was a member of a local gang when he decided to turn his life around, and enrolled in Catholic Charities Vocational and Educational Reentry Services. The program helped him solidify his path out of the old friends and environment he was accustomed to, and gave him the support he needed to find a job.

Now Jose serves as a Peer Mentor for Catholic Charities’ Focus for Work program – he knows exactly what the clients who come to him for assistance breaking free of life in a gang are going through and puts his experience to use in helping them achieve a brighter tomorrow. His dream is to become a licensed clinical social worker.

“I tell them, ‘I did then what I knew how to do,” says Jose. “Now that I know better, I do better.’”

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