Our partner in ministry, Straight Ahead Ministries, was chosen by World Magazine as a Northeast Regional finalist for the 2010 Hope Award, and I would like to congratulate them. World in their feature article about SAM writes:
Some white frame houses in Lynn, Mass., 15 miles north of Boston, are rundown, but the rot inside is worse. Although Lynn’s population is only 90,000, its crime statistics could be those of a city much larger. Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, and MS-13 wage brutal gang wars on its streets. Lynn is home to the third-largest Cambodian population in the nation, and some who escaped the killing fields remain unassimilated.
Lynn, though, is getting safer. Gang impact is down 60 percent in the last five years, and in-the-know Lynn residents say a Christian organization, Straight Ahead Ministries, has helped enormously by reconciling gang members and juvenile offenders with each other and rehabilitating them to the world at large.
In some ways, Straight Ahead is a throwback to an earlier era, when the church was the largest provider of social services. The ministry works closely with government organizations, combining personal relationships with meticulous case management, tracking youths over years, never giving up. “No governmental organization has a vision for the city,” Lynn director Claire Sullivan says. “God’s church has a vision, and our collaborative partners in government are sharing our vision.”
This ministry’s re-entry aftercare efforts in Lynn, MA was the primary model for our Second Chance Juvenile Mentoring Initiative, and the Second Chance team was able to attend a training back in March and interact with the Lynn aftercare staff. World also provided a video of this ministry as well which gives you a feel for the impact they are making in that community for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Once again, congratulations to Claire Sullivan, the Lynn director, Lynn staff and Scott Larson, Straight Ahead Ministries’ Executive Director. Well done!