San Jose At-Risk Youth Get Clean Slate, Chance for New Life

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – An anti-gang effort in San Jose that helps young people get rid of their tattoos has just produced another graduating class. The more than 70 at-risk youth say they are ready to live a gang-free lifestyle.

“From the beginning, I’ve always wanted to get it removed,” one 15-year-old girl admitted during the graduation festivities this week. She had a large tattoo emblazoned on her chest a year ago. She is already undergoing laser treatments to get rid of it. “It doesn’t really hurt, it’s more just like a needle, like scratching upon your skin but it’s not that bad.”

“Most of these kids (got a tattoo) in a stupor, on a drunk night, early in life and now they’re at that stage in life wanting to get jobs, wanting to take care of their children,” said Mario Marcel, Superintendent of San Jose’s Gang Prevention Task Force.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

In addition to getting their tattoos removed, the Clean Slate program gives students eight weeks of life skills classes – learning everything from how to speak well to building a resume.

San Jose’s Clean Slate program has been around since 1994. It is free to participants, provided they meet certain admissions criteria.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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