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Gang awareness workshops scheduled through February

The next in a series of 10 gang awareness workshops will be held Wednesday night at Ada Givens Elementary School, 2900 Green St.

At the 7 p.m. workshop, those attending will learn more about criminal street gangs, how to recognize a child's activity in a gang and what can be done to prevent the problem.

Mike Conway, public information officer for the city of Merced, said a local teacher and mother will detail her son's membership in a criminal street gang and how she failed to recognize the signs until it was too late.

The program is designed to give parents and members of the public information on gangs, the threat they pose to the community and how to steer children away from gangs. Photos of gang apparel, tattoos, colors and graffiti will be shown to help recognize gang activity, Conway said.

The program is offered in conjunction with Merced Community Violence Prevention & Intervention Task Force, a regional group that includes local government, schools, the faith-based community, courts and social services.

Workshops will be held at 7 p.m. every Wednesday evening through May, with some additional dates included. Baby-sitting services will be available and refreshments will be served.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209 385-2485 or