SCCC’s Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD) group in Watts
The Southern California Counseling Center’s Outreach program, in partnership with the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, offers a Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) group to the community. The program provides youth with a positive alternative to at-risk and destructive behavior. Funded by the City of Los Angeles, GRYD combines youth and parent leadership training to create a comprehensive violence, crime, substance abuse, dropout, absenteeism, low academic and vocational achievement prevention program.
Raquel Serrano, one of the group’s facilitators, describes her experience with the program:
“In the youth empowerment group with the kids at GRYD, ages 11-14, we highlight their strengths and positive actions and empower them by teaching them tools to better cope with the many stressors they experience daily. The kids at GRYD have unfortunately been called “the worst of the worst”, and have experienced a lot of trauma from a very young age. We emphasize how incredibly resilient, resourceful, and smart they are.
There was a time where we considered a group a success as long as nobody got into a fight during group – that is no longer an issue. In group, uncomfortable issues and conversations are confronted and we deal with them together. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but we’ve seen bonds grow over these past months. With the coping tools learned in group, the kids are better able to handle the daily stressors of life, looking forward to their future.”