Being a Member
When an individual is ready to become a member, we request a short autobiography from them detailing their life from conception to today in their own words. The autobiography is the beginning of a lengthy and difficult healing journey.
Why Join STR8 UP?
When STR8 UP members were asked why they continued to be involved in STR8 UP after one, two, five, and ten plus years, some of their responses were:
- “they never gave up on me”
- “I felt understood”
- “I learned from other STR8 UP members”
- “it taught me a whole new way of thinking”
The four pillars of success
- Outreach both while incarcerated and in the community
- Personal Healing
- Professional Development
- Community Education
Following the autobiography, we present and discuss the following five conditions:
Drop your colours
Every gang has a color and a process or required procedure to leave the gang. In order to become a STR8 UP Member an individual must drop their colours and leave their gang.
Deal with addictions
STR8 UP encourages individuals to deal with their addictions by accessing treatment, attending cultural ceremonies, religious gatherings, counseling, AA or NA meetings or other recovery programs. It is essential to identify support beyond STR8 UP.
STR8UP members are expected to be truthful when they share their life stories in public, at STR8UP presentations and in STR8 UP workshops. They are not asked to disclose everything, but everything that they do disclose must be truthful.
Members have to abandon the street attitude of “I can do anything I want, to anybody I want, whenever I want, however I want.” This attitude of arrogance must give way to the belief that I am no better than and no lesser than anyone. We are all equal.
Give four years
The recovery process for ex-gang members is a long and slow process; it is not an event. We choose four because it represents four quadrants in the medicine wheel. Most STR8 UP members who have fully recovered have devoted up to seven or eight years of their life to this journey.
We also discuss three major goals and visions for STR8 UP members:
Be a loving parent
Most STR8UP members are parents, but during gang life they were not involved, or negatively involved, in their children’s lives. Parents cannot give their children what they didn’t learn growing up. The effort they put in to being parents becomes a discovery of new ways of thinking, feeling, doing, and believing in one’s abilities to have a healthy relationship with one’s children
Be a faithful partner
We expect members to create and maintain a healthy and respectful relationship with their partners. Their past relationships were often dysfunctional and promiscuous. For many, a complete transformation, a rebuilding and reconceiving of their concepts of relationships and faithfulness becomes necessary.
Be a responsible citizen
Members must define what this means for themselves and the community in which they reside. This involves the belief that it is possible to be sober, to obtain a trade or an education. It is possible to obtain full-time employment and pay your bills.
Member Story: Believe you are worth it!
Most STR8UP members have struggled with feelings of unworthiness. Sometimes it can be hard to believe that you are deserving of a good life, that you are deserving of love. STR8UP members support each other as they discover and celebrate their self-worth. They help each other to see that they are worthy, that they are deserving, that there is a good person in all of us.
How to reach out
Please call our office in Saskatoon at (306) 244-1771 or in Prince Albert at (306) 763-3001.