My Y Story: Preventing Harm

Last updated: July 1, 2020, at 5:28 a.m. PT

Originally published: December 16, 2016, at 2:46 p.m. PT

Alive & Free, a program of the Y Social Impact Center,  helps young people break the cycle of violence and detention through direct street and community outreach. Young adults like Jerry*, who  was affiliated with a gang, using drugs, and not going to school.  Jerry's  Alive & Free outreach worker knew he had been detained for some of these activities, and began visiting him at Juvenile Detention to help him make plans for his next steps after release.

After detention, connecting Jerry with drug and alcohol counseling was a big first step in helping him stay clean and sober. His outreach worker also provided support to get Jerry back in school and secure a paid internship. Jerry’s journey has not been easy but he is in the process of getting his life on track. He is now attending Renton YouthSource to receive his GED and is finishing up Alive & Free’s internship project, where he is learning job and life skills through airbrush art.

These positive activities and support from his outreach worker have allowed Jerry to reduce his gang involvement and drug use. Seeing and achieving measurable success in his life and has given Jerry more confidence in himself and his future. Now he is positively moving towards an improved quality of life.

*Name has been substituted to protect participant’s identity.