Nationally, it is evident that State programs by
themselves are not keeping kids out of gangs and violent lifestyles.
Families and schools are under attack in record numbers. The two essential
weaknesses of organizations that work with kids in gangs are thus: they
lack the background in understanding gangs and they lack a comprehensive
program that will reduce recidivism. GXG leaders have lived the
gangster lifestyle and are familiar with both the attraction and the
danger it presents. Youth listen to other youth. Many have said: If you
can't talk to me, then you can't reach me. The GXG leadership team has
found that the key to getting youth out of gangs, is getting them into
something else that provides them protection, excitement, and sense of
fulfillment. Demonstrating community "family" in GXG's holistic approach,
coupled with a new lifestyle, has ensured that the recidivism rate is
impacted in area’s where we work with youth.
God’s X Gangster’s
(GXG) is a 501 c-3 non-profit organization who enjoys what few
nonprofit organizations enjoy: name recognition and a history of meeting
the needs of a population that everyone can relate to. Teams generally
seek us who are in need of some answers that include grass-roots focus,
with a history of successful involvement. Many teams are asking: What
works and who is accomplishing this regularly? We are
addressing previously at-risk and delinquent youth, and interfacing them
into a lifestyle of outstanding citizenship. * Letter from Right Choices
For Youth. (in letters of recommendation to follow)
God's X Gangster's (GXG)
began in 1998 in Fairmont Park, VA and has rapidly spread throughout
southeast Virginia. Bill Emery graduated from Internship at Beacon
of Hope Ministries in Portsmouth and began utilizing his personal
expertise in gang recovery by addressing the growing problems associated
with violent gang related activities in his neighborhood. Theft, assault,
rape, and even murder were knocking on the door of his neighborhood.
Bill, having worked with ex-offenders for 10 years, knew how to approach
the kids responsible for the terror in the community and began to meet and
reason with them. These original encounters led him to become a point
source of support where angry youth could discuss their grievances,
economic disparities, police confrontations, parental abuse, neighborhood
problems, school truancy, and at-risk behaviors in their arena’s of
Emery worked out of his home in the urban city
mentoring difficult youth one on one, and in small groups. This started
in a small living room where youth, at-risk to gang violence, gathered
weekly for in-depth, personal discussions about the unforeseen dire
consequences of gangs and gang culture.
The GXG program attendance grew to between 35-45 youth weekly and forced
GXG to move to nearby church social hall to accommodate This original
two-hour program of education/prevention and crises intervention
the GXG participants learned to express and come to terms with the
consequences of their complex and painful life experiences (in our
closely knit supportive environment), the poor behavior of these at-risk
youth subsided. Through this work, gang related violence in VA was
significantly reduced and was noted by Former VA Attorney General Mark
Early: “This organization, God’s X Gangsters, has helped to significantly
reduce juvenile crime in the state of Virginia”.
As an outgrowth of
having life transformations, these ex-gang members began exploring
effective ways to recruit at-risk youth for the GXG violence prevention
work grew to include a stage team of graduates,who
developed an “edutainment” troupe that uses music, dance, and dramatic
skits with anti-gang, anti-violence messages that are culturally relevant
to the modern at-risk youth. These youth have spoken to other
at-risk youth in seminars, school assemblies, Boys
and Girls Clubs, Multiple State Functions, Youth Detention Centers, large
outdoor park events, trailer park outreaches, block parties and housing
project events. The audiences have been predominately African Americans,
Latino Americans, or Amer-Asian youth.
edutainment program is an introductory agent to our at-risk counseling
program and has recruited 8,000 at-risk youth into Va. Programs
from 1999 through 2005. GXG’s violence prevention messages target
youth and family strengthening events throughout southeast Virginia and
has expanded into Richmond where GXG received statewide exposure in 2000.
According to the “Partners in Prevention”, the Dep’t of Health’s
newsletter, Community Organizations around Virginia are encouraged to
reproduce the successes that God’s X Gangsters has demonstrated.
During the last
three years, the GXG Stage Show Training Team was invited to and served
state and city government events. Attendance ranged from 50-1,500 at-risk
for gang violence participants.
In addition, we consistently recruit 60 youth that we
personally work with and 15 of those whom we train as leaders to reproduce
this program in other neighborhood networks.
The exceptional former gang member who
joins the edutainment troupe is trained by Rev. Emery, not only in
theatrical production, but in peer recruitment and counseling for the
One story stands out: Marvin Gumba was the head of the East Coast Crips –
VA He was the leader of the state’s largest gang in 1997. After jail, in
late 1998, he came into our program with a .085 grade point average, and
graduated from Maury High, 2 years later with a 3.5 GPA and a certificate
signed by Bill Clinton as VA’s Most Improved Student. Marvin is now
attending Tidewater Community College and runs our outreach center. He is
a core PR person and a much sought after part of our edutainment program.
Marvin, has no arms and one very short leg. He is an outstanding
communicator and routinely says: if i can make it, what is your excuse?
Marvin, and other X Gang leaders, provide our training stage show and the
success of these edutainment performances and youth violence prevention
programs brought GXG into partnerships in presentations with
various state program, to include: violence awareness clinics, bully
prevention, date rape-peer violence seminars, fatherhood, abstinence,
Right Choices for Youth, Independent Living seminars, probation programs,
boot camps, assemblies in schools, gang task force and the U.S. Surgeon
General's report on Youth Violence. Our youths became the poster children
for several regional initiatives. GXG is called upon often for our youths
to speak on panels and on stage as examples of changes lives. Our teams
were chosen two years in a row to appear with the Virginia Governors as
examples of youth who had made Right Choices.
Because of our service to various State Programs, GXG has received much
publicity from newspapers, and television News Programs. *Please
note CD. Through this focused publicity, God’s X Gangster’s has built
name recognition and a reputation for meeting the needs of a growing
at-risk population of youth.
Out of our core outreach center, we have trained workers
who have expanded out to programs in the Portsmouth Housing projects with
the City of Portsmouth Health Department; and in Norfolk with Norfolk
Housing and Redevelopment. Our trained workers have bee invited to
participate with many Court and Corrections alternative programs, to
recently include the Roaring Thunder Boot Camp in Portsmouth, the New Port
News City Jail, and the ladies Detention Center in Chesapeake, N. News
Detention Center, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake Juvenile
our central GXG outreach center, we have 6 computer stations that are set
up to serve our youth. There, we will continue to train leaders who will
be placed back in other communities and other organizations’ work, with
the know-how necessary to implement intervention programs in those
neighborhoods. Within the model of this work, room has been made to
provide a place for college accredited training for individuals/teams to
be trained in starting their own outreach to youth. Either at the central
GXG Training center or in the various service-sites, we provide a focused
intervention into the reproducing of violent generational behavior.
successful holistic approach is making lifelong changes in the lives of
at-risk youth. Our strategic advantage lies in the fact we are linked to
many parts of the community in a coordinated faith-based family. God's X
Gangster's success is based upon the comprehensive services it can offer
to youth in gangs to introduce them to a different lifestyle
Once the participants have begun the course of recovery,
GXG founder, Rev. Emery acts as an advisor to aftercare clinical providers
to insure a seamless transition from his program into prescribed treatment
centers and alternative services. In a constantly-building motion, each
of the ‘student/leaders’ are provided a variety of progressive leadership
skills trainings, with the specific understanding that they will
eventually be placed in the community at various community service sites
as a catalyst for change and as an agent for transformation. The six
progressive programs are the 12-Steps, Conflict Resolution,
Abstinence/Relationships/Parenting, Life Skills, Job Preparation, and
gang members who have successfully negotiated the traps of the gang
family, GXG connects them with community, and faith-based service
neighborhood network point-centers, teams in our collaborative, have a
vast array of resources to help keep the committed on the recovery track,
including: clothing, food, mentorship, relationship building, counseling,
mediation skills, drug awareness, suicide prevention, abstinence
education, bully prevention, violence awareness, parenting skills,
fatherhood skills, budgeting skills, GED preparation, job
training/placement, transportation, housing, life skills development,
opportunities for enhanced job training, internships, and opportunities to
maintain a continuity of education and after care from incarceration.
These services are available to the reformed gang members in their areas.
GXG has been able to address the needs of at-risk youth, while
provided realistic training,
in partnership, with many organizations in the
Mid-Atlantic communities, and in other states, as well. .
This program has served as a model
for faith-based networking, and has been a key asset to Public Service
teams, completing a full-service program. God's X Gangster's currently
works in cooperation with State, local city governments, schools, churches
GXG has work initially in Virginia, and then the
surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. They have branched out to serve other
states now, as well. Largely with the: Cripts, Folk Nation, M-13,
Bloods, Latin Kings, and the other gangs, and even small formulating
groups of ‘wannabe’ gangsters at-risk to gang recruitment. We have also
addressed Gang Involvement in North, South, and Central Va. Washington
D.C., Maryland, Michigan, New York, Florida, North and South Carolina,
Oregon, Louisiana, Scotland, England and Nigeria.
The main Reasons for joining gangs usually revolve around the need for
friendship, protection and excitement.
incorporated a work therapy division in 1999. Our court and school
advocacy programs were launched in 1999. Our weekly small groups, one on
one mentoring, prison educational programs, work preparation training,
intervention and advocacy programs were launched in 1999, as well. We set
up a transitional housing program in 1999. Our office center moved to
Great Bridge in Chesapeake during 1999, while our outreach remained in
Fairmont Park. We opened a permanent outreach facility in 2002 on
Chesapeake Ave. in late 2002, where we train the trainers. We began
College Credited Urban Studies programs in 2004. We launched the
Virginia Gang Prevention Partnerships in 2005.
our teams provided service to 2 state agencies conferences, 4 schools
meetings, 13 community outreaches, 19 churches, and took our youth to
Scotland to share in the Youth detention centers, 3 churches and a
spoke at 8 Va. State Events, 3 schools, 10 community events, 23 churches,
Traveled to Ohio, Maryland, and Louisiana-where we spoke at the youth
detention centers-community outreaches-a middle School-2 radio stations
and 5 churches.
we spoke at 12 State and City Events, 21 community outreaches, 1 school,
22 churches, Traveled and spoke in Florida-New York-Maryland
(twice)-Louisiana (3 times), and traveled to England to speak in the 4
Detentions centers, 2 School Assemblies, 2 radio programs and 11
spoke at 5 State Events, 1 school, one boot camp, 8 churches, 11 community
outreaches, New Jersey, Baltimore, D.S. (5 times)-S. Carolina- and N.
Carolina 4 times.
we spoke at 7 State events, 2 schools, 17 community outreaches, 23
churches, 1 prison, Oregon, Michigan, S. Carolina, New York,
Louisiana,(twice), Georgia, and D.C (3 times).
spoke at5 schools, 3 State Public events, 1 national Public event,
4 Detention Centers, 2 National Conferences and 2 Local Conferences, 1
Public Housing, 23 Community Outreaches, 6 City Networking events, 12
training Clinics, 1 Radio and 1 T.V. News program, 2 banquets, 16
Churches, Traveled and spoke in Nigeria, Dallas, Orlando, Charleston, and
Washington D.C. (4 times).
spoke at 6 schools events, 1 college event, 1 city networking event, 2
correctional Centers, 5 Detention Centers, 15 Community Outreaches, 11
training clinics, 2 National Trainings, 6 Local Conferences, 1 Nat.
Conference, 2 Press Conferences, 13 Local Planning Networking Meetings, 7
State, 6 National Planning Networking meetings, 1 Embassy Meeting, 2
Public Housing events, 11 T.V. News Casts, 1 radio, Traveled and spoke in
Chicago, California, and D.C. 5 times.
A.) We need a farm to expand our
small transitional housing,
B.) We need
a warehouse in the city to expand our outreach center capability.
We want to also
expand our website, to provide additional opportunities for the seamless
delivery of necessary services as outlined in detail above. We need to pay
our workers, as they also have families. In order to accomplish these
goals, quickly, we will require additional capital from
various sources. At this point we are seeking your help, to partner with
us to expand our abilities to serve more youth. Please join with God’s X
Gangsters! And together we can impact not only our at-risk youth, but also
further cooperative involvement with Public Service teams and community
organizations throughout the region. As they come into partnership with
us, we will cross-pollinate in how to meet the needs of “our” youth, in
these neighborhoods; one person, one family, one neighborhood at a time.
The structuring of the offices, to accommodate a newer streamlined hub
to connect with Norfolk State University
Provision of equipment for communicational excellence
Implementation of additional key personnel
Additional printing of material for service delivery of the
The training of additional interns to be returned into their own areas
as agents of change