The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Issue #107 (Winter 2012) issue cover
Gang Life
The Grime Beneath the Glamour

Identity theft is a big problem for kids in foster care; a new federal law aims to help. (full text)

Anthony introduces the issue and uncovers some surprising stats on why teens join gangs. (full text)

The author joins a gang when she's 13, drawn to the loyalty and protection they seem to offer. Instead, the gang puts her in danger and disappears when she gets locked up. (full text)

Gangs control the housing projects the author lives in. Even though he's not in a gang, he has to observe their rules and suffer their violence. (full text)

The writer sees the armed forces as his only option to escape an impoverished and embattled neighborhood. (full text)

Former gang member Sean "Dino" Johnson, who now works at a violence prevention organization, talks about how he turned his life around. (full text)

As Jasmine and Shawn work on college admissions essays, they get the munchies and look for healthy snacks.

The author misses her birth family terribly when she goes into care, and she feels invisible and unloved. She joins a clique that fights other groups after school. (full text)

The writer's younger brother dresses and talks like a gang member. Since they live in a gang-infested neighborhood, the writer worries that his brother is in danger, and he interviews a police officer about it. (full text)

The author meets a gang leader on a dating website and is drawn into the gang. The boyfriend cheats on her and then turns on her, and she gets locked up. (full text)

Essay contest winners describe someone who inspired them. (full text)

The Interrupters documents a group of ex-gang members who work to calm neighborhood violence through a unique program in Chicago. (full text)
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