We bring Hope and Purpose to those marginalized by gang affiliation and its impact on communities.

Thank you all for taking the time to read our updates and sharing them with others.  You all are our biggest advocates.  As you read this month’s newsletter I ask that you please lift us up in prayer.  As you know, our mission and core value is to love and serve those on the margins.  We pray and try our best to advocate for lil homies, big homies, and any homie that decides to take that leap to let us stand with them through their present and future events.

Most of you know about our small group called TurnAround Youth, where we offer up life skills, mentoring, tutoring, and activities like nature walks to get youth to see beyond their own neighborhoods.  These services and others wrapped in strong kinship help boost these young people while they are trying to adjust to a different form of school, life at home all day, and the new way of living.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I leave home by 7am, drive to a few different houses to pick up youth and mentors, and bring everyone to our small office on Casino Road in Everett.  We make sure they get breakfast and are logged into classes by 8am to start school.  Most of these youngsters had given up on school or were struggling to the point where they were unsure they could continue; but now they are dedicated to catching up while enjoying being in the presence of others and offering a helping hand when needed. 

Due to Covid our group is growing.  I ask for prayers for everyone's health first and foremost, but also that we find support and funding to continue to love and embrace our youth because they are the future.

Thank you and may God bless you,

Jose "Neaners" Garcia

Having Peace

I always feel blessed to see the small changes in the growth of the homies. Some make small leaps, others have minor set backs, but through it all we see Hope.

A few weeks ago I took a young homie to get his license and we saw 5 people go into the office, mainly white youth with parents, and he looked to me and said, ”Damn, Neaners, how lucky these kids are.”  Those weren't his exact words, as homies have pretty colorful language, but he made his point.  I didn’t know if he commented on their fortune because they were white, or because they looked prepared, or because their parents came, or if it was some other reason; but what I knew was that he sounded mad to me.  Then the homie said, They look warm in their coats.  And look at me in this damn jersey in this cold weather.”  We busted out laughing.

I know that we aren't parents to the clients that we serve, nor will be there to support them through their whole lives, but we at Second Chance Outreach try our best.  We try to heal those common uproars of pains that where inflicted during their tender years; by parents or by the community or by gangs.  We help them rise up to a level where they can look into the day ahead, where they can see past pains bruises.  A level where they can make simple mistakes, like not bringing a sweater on a cold day because they want to look good in a jersey, and laugh about it and learn from it.  To overlook minor setbacks with confidence that they can try again, and know they will be applauded for trying rather than scorned for making any little mistake.  To find a balance that celebrates learning rather than fearing harsh penalties from minor failings.

After the homie came out from his drivers test, he looked happy and confident.  When he got in my car he said, “I didn’t pass.”  I looked confused because I didn’t know what to say.  Then he said, “I missed it by 5 questions.  Five out of hella damn questions.  I’m proud of myself.  Next time, que no?”  I looked at this kid - who served a juvenile life sentence, who went in at 16 came out at 21 - with joy and happiness. He sees that tomorrow he will be able to try again; that no set back will hold him back but will give him strength to study, try harder, and look ahead with no regrets.

Organizations work so hard to try and build programs so they look good to the community and are accepted.  In the need for acceptance and understanding, it can be easy to lose sight of what the ones we stand with have gone through and the help that they need.  That's where a lot of programs will lose the most marginalized members of our communities.We at Second Chance Outreach prioritize the love and the needs for our community that we stand with because we stood in those similar shoes.

So we try to get folks to come out of their comfort zone and see a small glimpse of what these homies are going through.  To learn how to stand with those who have been victimized and harmed by this cruel world, and see the beauty and progress in the context of real people's journeys.  Only then can we applaud with confidence as they work toward healing wounds, learning new skills, and accepting wholeheartedly the lives they have been given.  Only then can we all move forward, as one community, ready to make the next day better, richer, and more peaceful for our collective whole. 

TurnAround Youth
We are truly grateful to have kicked off the TurnAround Youth program in January of this year.  We offer younger homies the opportunity to get tutoring, mentoring, and gain life skills.  Many of our lil homies are having difficulty with school from home; competing for use of resources and spaces in homes that are often crowded and small.  We have created a safe haven for them to get out of their loud, chaotic environments and have a peaceful place to be read, study, and participate in online school.  We provide laptops they can use at our office for work, exploring at colleges, and other things to help prepare for the future.
In addition to supporting school work and mentoring our youth, we have been venturing out to explore the world together.  We have a volunteer who helps educate us on natural beauty through leading nature walks.  We truly are grateful that our special volunteer has the ability to inject her skills into our world so that our kids can see the world in different set of eyes.  Martin Luther King Jr says, “We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.”  So thank you, Tairyn, for giving us the opportunity to walk as brothers and sisters now and then, and for sharing your knowledge and love of nature.  You are a treasure.
Pray for those on the margins, for those who stand next to the oppressed, for those in the system, and for our homies who are facing a new world while still trying to overcome the last one we just left.
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