Comin’ Up, founded in 1994, is one of several anti-crime programs credited with turning Fort Worth from one of the most dangerous cities in the United States into one of the safest.
The staff employs former gang members who use their community ties to recruit active gang members — at schools, on street corners or anywhere else they gather.
The bond between counselors and gang members is one of the main reasons it works.
"There’s not a lot of people who look like me, talk like me, telling me I can do something with myself," said Tony Cobello, 29, a gang mediator who has worked for the program.
But just how successful is it?
City administrators were told Wednesday night that the program served 900 boys and young men last year. One in 5 enrolled in school or got a job.
"Forty-three percent said they would be on the street or in jail without the program," said Daphne Barlow, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth, which runs the program with funding from the city.
But some of Comin’ Up’s funding may be cut as Fort Worth city administrators struggle to overcome a $61 million shortfall in next year's budget.
Staff Writer Mike Lee reports.