Chances for a new life

Social Awareness

Family Resources on Chances For A New Life

Lesson Topic

Students will explore the value of learning to make safe and socially positive choices. The main character in the video turned his back on a criminal lifestyle and channeled himself in positive ways.

Essential Question

Why would someone choose to be in a gang? How can someone create a happier and more fulfilling life outside of a gang?

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Chances For A New Life – Saul

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students analyzed peer pressure and how groups of people can create a culture that can be positive or negative. In class students discussed the consequences of the main character’s choices and how he made serious changes because of his mistakes. In groups students created monologues to demonstrate some situations that the main character, Saul, faced.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

The video for this module features a young adult named Saul who is a former gang member and now works for a community non-profit. Saul tells the story of how he became involved in gang activity because gang members offered friendship and why he left that life behind making a new start.

Conversation notes:
Many adolescents make poor choices particularly because they are attracted to negative cultures-such as gangs. In Saul’s case, he is now an activist for youth encouraging them to make positive choices and learn from his mistakes.

US Department of Justice Parent’s Guide to Gangs:

Prevention of violence and other serious issues discussed in this article from Search Institute:

Problem of peer pressure, particularly for boys from Generation Next:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.

Your class had to write monologues as part of the activity. Tell us about the one your group wrote. Why did you write what you did? Describe the lesson or important point your group was trying to make?

What do you look for when you meet someone new who might want to be friends? How can you tell if someone wants to really be your friend or only wants you to do something dangerous or negative? Why is it important to think about the difference?

What are the things you can do to avoid negative peer pressure? What are some situations that peer pressure can be difficult to overcome? Why do these ideas work for you?

School to Home Resources on Chances For A New Life

Lesson Plan

Saul earns money the right way

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Saul says, “I earned this, I really earned this with my sweat and my work so I was so proud of myself”. What was different about earning this money compared with how he had gotten money before? Why is working valuable?

Making the community better

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Mr. Chong tells about Saul when he was a teenager, “I asked Saul how he became a social activist… at sixteen, and he said ‘I read a lot’, that was all he really said”. Why do you think Saul did not tell about his experiences in a gang right away? What are some skills that Saul has developed to contribute to the community?

How the gang recruited Saul

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Saul tells us that a gang member compared the gang to a family, “I said that’s cool, because I wasn’t having a family back at home”. What could the gang claim to offer that makes it like a family? Why did Saul come to find this was not true?

Preventing violence

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Saul mentions that he now works for a non-profit organization, “We talk about what is domestic violence, what is violence, ways that you can prevent violence in your community”. How do you think Saul can use his experiences to help with violence prevention? What do you imagine he could say to an adolescent who has a difficult life at home?

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