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Jan. 5, 2010

Consultant Sharon Wright addressed the Forum Tuesday about the RISE program, a motorsports-based career awareness program operating at Garinger High School and enrolling 40 students a year.

Operating with funding from, among others, the Gang of One gang prevention program, RISE aims "to help the students understand how to use that technology so that their steps after high school are more clearly defined for them," Wright said. "And they know that, 'I don't have to choose to hang with my friends in the street and get in trouble. I don't have to choose gang activity. I'm intelligent, I'm smart, I know I have these skills. I know I have another alternative for myself." After two classes, Wright said, evaluators find that "the students are actually getting it."

From the audience, Gang of One Director Fran Cook announced that statistics released Monday showed 161 gangs operating in Charlotte, with "2,200 documented gang members and associates.

"Which sounds like a lot. But consider our population as well about 800,000. The problem is if the gang member or gang activity is in your neighborhood." After a combination of gang prevention programs and a quadrupling of officers assigned to gang interdiction work, she said, "juvenile gang activity has decreased the last two years...."








The Forum welcomes all persons to its meetings beginning at 8:30 a.m. most Tuesdays
at the West Charlotte Recreation Center, 2401 Kendall Drive, Charlotte, NC
down the hill from West Charlotte High School.