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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Factors that impede the anti-social teen-age gang in the use of organized community programs : an analysis of the East End boys project as an attempt to re-direct anti-social behaviour Henry, Robert

Abstract

This thesis is a study of an experiment conducted by an experienced social group worker with a group of fifteen anti-social teen-age boys in the East End district of Vancouver. The writer's interest in this study has grown out of his concern for youngsters who come to neighbourhood houses and community centers and search.in vain for companionship and enjoyable activity. In spite of their apparent desire they are unable to feel at home and take part in the program services offered. Many of the youngsters, who experience this difficulty, drift toward membership in anti-social groups in an effort to find some measure of satisfaction. The anti-social teen-age group does not appear in a neighbourhood by chance but in response to the unmet social and personal needs of its members. These needs have not been met through community services because of certain attitudes and feelings on the part of the members, the nature of the gang organization they create to protect themselves, and the response of the community to the way in which they make their needs known. The group records of the East End Boys Project show the search of a group of youngsters for satisfying personal and group experiences. The members in this group had not been able to find a constructive means of satisfying their need for security, status, recognition and meaning in life. The project demonstrates that, through the relationship with a social group worker, the factors that prevented some of these youngsters from using the opportunities for social experience provided by the community, can be isolated and overcome. In the security of the informal club room with an accepting, understanding adult these youngsters are able to relax and seek the assistance they need. In this atmosphere the social worker can utilize group work skills and techniques and/his understanding of human behaviour in the re-direction of/anti-social attitudes and activities. Through the medium or the natural gang group the social worker is able to reach out and offer services to young people who otherwise could never be involved in the helping process. The anti-social teen-age gang is a symptom of an unmet social need in the community. Social work in its concern for unmet needs wherever they appear, has recognized this symptom and moved toward the devising of methods of isolating and treating the underlying social ailment. Social group work has a real contribution to make in work with anti-social youngsters but such a contribution, to be effective, must be co-ordinated and integrated with a total program of youth services in the community.

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