Most members of gangs in the United States join when they are between the ages of 12 and 15, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
To strengthen community resources to help at-risk youth avoid this course, President Obama launched the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.
But it also takes dedication from individuals in a community to end the allure of gangs — people like Danny Sanchez (shown in the inset photo) of San Jose, California, who once was a gang member.
“Because of my past I am all too aware of the dangers and consequences of gang activity, and I also know it is never too late to get out. My aim is to give hope to young people,” Sanchez says.
Today Sanchez is a youth minister in San Jose and a member of the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force, which is part of the president’s national forum.