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Gangs threatening teenage moms
By David De Rurange/KTVL.com
MEDFORD, Ore. -- Gangs have threatened those who Tricia Prendergast cares about.
She runs a home in East Medford for teenage mothers and their babies.
"Many of the girls there have been involved with gang members, or are involved with gang members." Prendergast said.
Prendergast is the Executive Director at the Magdalene Home. She joined a handful of others at a gang forum located inside the Medford Library.
At the forum, visitors could weigh in on their neighborhood's gang problem. They were invited to fill out a gang assessment. The assessment will tell Jackson County authorities what the gang problem really is, and what should be done to stop it. The results of the gang assessment aren't expected until next year.
Predergast explains why she made an effort to attend the gang forum.
"We're always looking for ways to help our girls more effectively," she said. "To help them to move away from people they're involved with, if they're in gangs."
CASA volunteers, like Mavis Cloutier, have witnessed what these teenage moms go through when gangs enter the picture.
"Once they get involved with a gang member, very often that can turn abusive," Cloutier said."Then once that happens, then they are intimidated and threatened and don't know how to get out of the relationship. Which is what happens at the Magdalene Home sometimes. They get gang members coming there, and it's a threat to everyone who is living there."
Predergast hopes the gang assessment will change the lives of her girls by helping them find more freedom from gang intimidation.
"I really hope that this does a lot of things. I hope it heightens the awareness of the gang activity that is here, for those that aren't aware. Before I was involved with Magdalene Home, I knew that there was because it was in the news, but I haven't really encountered it on a personal basis."
Gang forums continue to take place all over the Rogue Valley. So far, Jackson County Community Justice reports the forum turnout is low. The county wants feedback as to how bad gang activity is in your neighborhood. Here are the remaining forums you can attend:
- Tuesday, Nov. 13
Rogue River library
- Thursday, Nov. 29
White City library
- Wednesday, Dec. 12
The Medford Area Gang and Drug Enforcement team scheduled these "Community Resident and Parent Forums" as part of a community-wide gang assessment model through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.Saturday, August 3 2013, 03:17 PM CDT
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