Dallas M. Stout has pretty much always been passionate about preventing gang activity in Orange County.He and his wife, Debra, have co-chaired the Violence Prevention Coalition for 13 years.He won the Ambassador of Peace award in 2004 from the coalition and has also been honored by the Orange County Department of Education with their \"Excellence in Education\" award.Now the Mormon couple — who are both psychologists, teachers at Cal State University and operate DoctorS Nonprofit Consulting in Fullerton — has been hired to help implement a new, countywide gang prevention effort in Orange County funded by The California Endowment.\"Gangs control most of the illegal drugs in the United States,\" Dallas Stout said. \"And our country uses 50 percent of all illegal drugs. That's how gangs get funded, through drug traffic. That's why they tag their territory. It's a financial issue for them.\"Stout said there's a tendency to assume the drugs and gangs are only in cities like Los Angeles and that LDS families are not involved.\"For the Hispanic and Samoan (LDS) communities, it's a huge issue. It's in our neighborhoods and in our schools. There's children being killed on our streets,\" he said. \"And it's not something we have good dialogue about.\"(Nearby Los Angeles currently is dealing with 700 gangs and 40,000 gang members, according to recent crime reports.)\"People think we don't have a problem here in Orange County,\" Stout said. \"There's a lot of denial in our county. The truth is we have a recognized gang in every city. Some predate the gangs in L.A.\"Stout said gangs not only threaten the peace in a community but take a huge social and economic toll as well.\"To put a kid in prison at 17 and keep him there for a lifetime costs more than a Harvard education,\" Stout said.The Stouts will be working to research, document and share gang-related information with police chiefs, politicians and community leaders throughout the county.Previously, efforts to fight gang growth in the area have been piecemeal, so the Stouts are very excited to be part of a serious, unified prevention effort.\"It's pretty awesome,\" Stout said. \"We'll be doing all of the research and key informant interviews.\"The endowment grant is a two-year grant renewable for five years. It's privately funded and since The California Endowment is one of the largest charity groups in the country, Stout said he's quite sure the effort will span a 10-year period.He said it's nice to be getting paid for his and his wife's time but he's happy to be involved at any wage.\"I do this because of my passion (for helping kids),\" he said.
California LDS couple tapped to help prevent gang violence
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