Community leaders and Fresno Police are trying to make a change, taking aim at gangs and drugs.
Saturday, they teamed up for the first-ever “Make It Stop Prevention-Intervention” Expo.
It was a free event, open to the public held at Gaston Middle School in southwest Fresno.
Dozens of parents and children attended the event, where they learned strategies to overcome everything from peer pressure and family life to gang violence.
“This whole area is surrounded by gangs and we know that the kids see it every day,” Pastor Joby Jones organizer of Stop the Violence, said.
One who used to live in it, 13-year-old Sonny Peralta.
“I grew up with my family doing gangs, drugs and all that,” he said.
Sonny’s mother, Angie Navarro, grew up the same way. She said her mother was an addict as well.
Eventually, Angie turned her and her children’s lives around and said she has been clean for about nine years.
“If you are one of these children that have drug addicted moms or gang lives that there’s hope out there,” Navarro said.
With the help of programs like Stop the Violence, Navarro said she’s now determined to prevent her own children and others from going down the same path.
“We were against cops and now we’re partnering up with cops and that’s good for the kids,” she said.
Both Navarro and Sonny thankful for new beginnings, giving credit to a higher power.
“I had to go through a pretty bad life but we we found Jesus,” he said.
Organizers said they plan to hold another expo in December.