“If my son is going to do it, I’m going to do it too. I got his back”
As a teen, Jose Sr. experienced a “Scared Straight” workshop facilitated by ex-gang members that was supposed to discourage negative behavior. It didn’t work for him. So when he received the invitation for his son Jose Jr. to attend the CHOOSE 180 Youth workshop, he expected much of the same. But he found himself surprised by how different this experience was—for the both of them. “We didn’t just sit and listen. This was more fun, the bead exercise, the participation, it’s good!”
It’s an experience that Jose Sr. chose to have, as parents are highly encouraged but not required to participate in the workshop activities. When asked why he stayed, Jose Sr. said, “I was going to leave but I thought if my son is going to do it, I’m going to do it too. I got his back.” It’s a good thing he did because Jose Jr. not only left with the tools he needed to commit to a new direction for his life, he also left knowing that he has the support of CHOOSE 180 and, most importantly, his father.
When asked for final thoughts, Jose Jr. summarized the day by simply saying “to come is the best decision.”