Many parents and young people in Chicago are faced with insurmountable violence on a daily basis but one program, Becoming A Man (BAM), is working to keep young men away from gangs and violence. BAM is a social and emotional learning program for at-risk young men run by Youth Guidance, a non-profit organization. Young men are able to have a safe space to convene, explore their emotions and other ways to respond to confrontations. Since the founding of the program, violent crime arrests have gone down by 50 person and graduation rates have risen by 19 percent for young men in the program. Watch this inspiring video of two boys who are becoming men!
At just 18 years old, high school senior Joshua Streater already has had friends shot and killed on the streets of Chicago.
"It's hard," he told NBC News. "You won't believe what happens to your friends." For Crespin Luna, 17, the sounds of gunshots are an all-too-familiar part of daily life. "You'll hear a gunshot or something and know that somebody's passed away," he said.
Despite living in a city where violence abounds, these young men are finding their way with the help of a powerful supplementary school program.