|Danny with friends|
Danny's two initial posts, Starting a Story and The Little Cicada, talk movingly about at-risk youth from the La Chacra neighborhood where Danny volunteers. Here's one of Danny's insights from Starting a Story:
To be sure, there’s more little kids that will one day want in the gang than the pandilla could ever accept. I would say that in La Chacra, it’s a myth that gangs “recruit” little kids. It’s the poverty, the family disintegration, the lack of a support structure, the lack of education, the lack of opportunities, the lack of somebody to care, the lack of love that recruits little kids. It’s the fact that the gang members are the coolest and most powerful people in the neighborhood. They take you in and accept you, they protect you, and they get you money. So kids want in, but they don’t understand the implications. I recently heard a teacher lamenting that these days in El Salvador, there aren’t any young people who are willing to dedicate their lives to their convictions. But the truth is that the kids in the gangs sacrifice everything and live everyday willing to kill and die and go to jail for their convictions. But I don’t think that’s what the teacher was referring to.