Saying goodbye to the program Gang of One - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Saying goodbye to the program Gang of One

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The anti-gang prevention program called The Gang of One will shut down on Friday.  The program has been in Charlotte for a decade. 

Over the past 10 years, Gang of One has received a nearly $4 million federally funded grant.  The money has run out and local politicians are not coming to the rescue.

The Director of Gang of One, Rev. Fran Cook is concerned the difference the program has made down through the years will be in vain.

"The juvenile gang numbers dropped over the last 10 years," Cook said. "Since Gang of One has been around. We may begin to see those numbers tick back up."

Also concerned is a graduate of the Gang of One program, Damarcus McBride. He says the Gang of One helped him get out of a gang through the program. He thinks the program going away may stir trouble in the community.

"I think that's bad," McBride said.  "It's going to be lot more violence, people getting into trouble."

Gang of One is the only one on one gang intervention unit in Charlotte.  Eight counselors deal with gang members telling them to say no to gang life.  Cook is concerned the agencies that will take the Gang of One's place, are lacking.

"The present system will need to increase its capacity," Cook said. "Because Gang of One is losing eight. And these eight persons were totally focused on working on gang involved youth and families."

Gang of One has received state recognition for its efforts. It reaches about 12,000 a year through referrals from the courts and Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) district.  This year it had face to face interaction with 150 youngsters dealing with gang life.

"I think it was a good program," McBride said. "It helped out a whole bunch. It got me through everything. Helped me change."

Gang of One helped bust up the MS-13 gang ring through a tip it received over its hotline.  Also the program used money to renovate the Greenville Community Center.

"It's now a vital community center." Cook said.

The center is used for gang education workshops.  Friday at 5pm the program's phones will be disconnected and the website will be shutdown.

Eight workers will lose their jobs as a result of Gang of One going away.

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