Former gang members volunteer

Former gang members volunteer
PASCO - We cover the gang culture extensively here in the Tri-Cities. Shootings, stabbings and neighborhood fights. Now we learned former gang members volunteered for yard work – as part of the way they’re giving back.

This -- is not your typical picture of Spring break. Raking up leaves to help a couple local churches -- and a few senior homes.

“As those that are younger and part of the community, we need to help out by lending a helping hand,” said former gang member Antero Andy Estrada.

“If I weren't doing this, I'd be doing something bad,” added reformed youth Marceiz Lyons.

These kids are part of FIRME Gang Outreach and Jubilee Youth Ranch. The groups partnered with PNNL -- making a difference for others.....and changing their own lives.

“It comes down to choices. It's about choices - what you want to do in life,” said Estrada.

Andy grew up in the Tri-Cities -- and once was a local gang member.

“You get older and wiser and you start to make right choices,” said Estrada.

He now shares his story -- hoping his children will choose something better.

"That he does make the right choice in life and that he would not want to be with those type of people,” said Estrada.

I talked to several young people....all former gang members, recovering addicts or troubled teens.

“It would hurt everyone around me that loves me and I don't want to do that,” said “Sophia.”

"Sophia " almost joined at gang in elementary school.

"I decided to not do it. Because it's going to ruin your life,” said “Sophia.”

Marceiz is now sober....after a past of using drugs.

“I’ve been clean for ten months and getting my life back together,” said reformed teen Marceiz Lyons.

It's a story of those wanting to better their own lives.....and working to make others' lives better.

In total – 40 people gathered together to clean up Tri-City homes and churches this week.