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Ernest HughesErnest Hughes
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 I'm constantly dealing with some turnover in the same families. Which is good because now I'm able to really rap a little better with the young people that came from that family because earlier I dealt with an older brother or sister. And those young kids say to you "Oh, I couldn't wait until I could go out with you because you used to take my brother out to the movies and to the basketball games and all the recreation things that you did. And I couldn't go. Now I can go. And I want to go with you."

 When I first started, it was really wild. It was like I wanted to be, I had to be a part of this solution. So when I came from DYS, Department of Youth Services, straight to the Streetworker Program, it's just where I wanted to be. I wanted to be in the mix. I wanted to be out there because I knew what was going on. I heard what was going on. I'm dealing with the kids in DYS who’re telling me what was going on out in the streets, and instead of the services I was giving them inside of DYS, they want to know why "Why aren't you outside, telling us that before we get here?" So I'm thinking "OK, I know how to handle this. I know what they want. He already told me. Why am I not out there giving the services to them on the outside before they get locked up?"

 I might want to go up to a school and talk to an eighth grade class about what's going on in the streets, what I've seen, what we've seen and what we need to stop and what we can do about it. How to identify it. What choices to make and things like that. And then after that, give out my cards and let them know they can call me at any time. And it doesn't matter, 24 hours a day, give me a call. I don't care what reasons they would call me for, please call me if they have any concerns or feelings.

 At the time, the police weren't recognizing us in any way because they didn't know who we were. The Streetworkers and the police had never been introduced, so it was hard during those years. It was up to the Commissioner at that time to say "Hey, you guys don't know each other." And he said "I want you to come down to the police academy and I want you to give presentations to all the rookie cops coming in, and the ones already on the force. I want you to talk to them and tell them what you do and let them ask you some questions and things." And that's what they did.

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