Paul’s Expertise:

  • Gang Prevention
  • Violence Prevention
  • Making Positive Life Choices
  • “Gang-Proofing” Youth (for Parents/Caretakers)

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Paul’s Bio:

When I was a teen in the late 80’s, I found myself highly attracted to the gang lifestyle. Through a set of circumstances, I encountered several individual gang members in my neighborhood. At first, I was wary, but my desire to be accepted drove my curiosity. They were friendly, understanding, and accepted me for who I was. By seventeen years old I had joined my neighborhood’s gang. Before I knew it, twenty years of my life had passed by, and I realized I spent it as an active member of my gang. I was engaged in many different types of criminal activity, and violent acts in my neighborhood. One of the things that is not often mentioned when someone joins a gang is the tragedy and many unforgettably devastating experiences they will encounter. With my past, I should be in prison or even dead. Somehow, I was lucky enough to survive and eventually escape the lifestyle. This is the type of lifestyle that inhibits the maturity process. Somehow when someone is in a gang, the mentality is that they have the ability to stay young and party for life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Once I saw the heartbreaking fate of my brother, twin, and father, I knew that this gang lifestyle was unsubstantial and would end in tragedy.”

“By the time I was in my mid-thirties I begin to realize how unattractive this lifestyle really was. I then begin to reflect on my life and realize that I had wasted so many years. I needed to make some positive changes before it was too late and I had thrown my whole life away. I slowly started to transition into a normal life. With many bumps and barriers in the way, I was eventually able to obtain a solid job as a construction worker. I painfully and slowly separated myself from my gang. I eventually moved to another city where I begin to surround myself with positive people, and slowly started to see an impactful and positive change in my life. There was a strong conviction in my heart to keep youth from going down the same road I had ended up on. I contemplated what somebody could have told me during that time that would have changed my relationship with the gang. I made the dedication to sharing my tragic past with youth in the hopes that they would not suffer the same consequences I saw many of my family members obtain.”

“My mission in life is to connect with youth and young adults. I believe I have a unique way of connecting with at-risk youth, because I was one of them. I realize that any adolescent could easily fall prey to gangs, drugs, and a criminal lifestyle. My goal is to speak to as many elementary through high school aged students as possible. Although I was a gang member and lived the lifestyle, I know not every student will end up engaging in that lifestyle.”

“That is why when I present, my main focus is on “Choices and Consequences.” I do know that every student is going to be faced with difficult choices; whether it is drugs, gangs, or alcohol. My stories and presentation help youth to understand that they can pick the choices they make, but they can’t pick the consequences they receive. I share stories of bad choices, resulting in devastating consequences, in hopes to encourage, inspire, and equipped our youth. I want them to be able to live a life with meaning and purpose and find their true identity.”

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