The youth-written stories in YCteen 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

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

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

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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)

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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)

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

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

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

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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)

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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)

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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)

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

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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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