Patricia NicolasMay 11, 2017, 2:46 pmMay 11, 2017, 3:16 pm

Assemblyman gives $300K for fighting gang violence in Brentwood

Check presented to S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth that works to deter minors from gang involvement

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It’s a step in the right direction in the fight against gangs on Long Island — an assemblyman is using state funds to make a big contribution for the cause.

Assemblyman Phil Ramos presented a $300,000 check to S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth, an organization in Uniondale that works to deter youth from gang involvement. The group says the money will help them open an office in the Brentwood community.

S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth Executive Director Rahsmia Zatar says, “We want to be able to establish ourselves here in the Brentwood, CI community so we can offer that safe space, where families and youth can come to get our services.”

S.T.R.O.N.G. was started in June 2000 and since then, they have reached more than 78,000 people and worked with more than 800 youth on Long Island. Brentwood is a community that has been plagued by MS-13 gang violence.

“We provide mental health counseling, we do case management, different types of workshops — whether they are in the building or outside, we have collaborations with schools and a school-based program,” says Zatar.

Assemblyman Ramos says S.T.R.O.N.G.'s presence in the community is one that they haven't had a before. It’s a program specifically committed to gang prevention.

Ramos says, “It works here, making our streets safer, by prevention and actually diverting lives to something more positive.”

Some of the groundwork for S.T.R.O.N.G. has already started. They tell FiOS1 News that by the next school year, expect to see them in full force here in Brentwood.

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