Accelerating: James

Last updated: August 21, 2017, at 12:54 a.m. PT

Originally published: April 5, 2017, at 4:03 p.m. PT

The Accelerator YMCA believes in helping young people reach their fullest potential. For some young people, that means building a strong foundation to help them make the right choices to find their way out of difficult situations. When young people gain the skills they need to stay out of trouble, communities are safer and healthier and young people are more engaged in school and other positive activities.

James found this support in our Alive & Free program. He was in a gang and was not doing well in school. He and his friends had an ongoing feud with another group of teens that was causing him a lot of stress. James couldn’t deal with the conflict anymore, so he decided to leave the area and go to Washington Youth Academy to get back on track.

His Alive & Free outreach worker became his Washington Youth Academy mentor and kept in touch with him while he was away. Once James returned home from WYA, he worked hard on resolving the conflicts he had that made him leave the area in the first place. His outreach worker set up a mediation with the other group of teens and together, they peacefully resolved their conflict.

James’s new outlook on life has been fruitful. He is now employed, attending school at Highline Community College and is staying away from gang-involved activities.