Today marks the first session of San Jose’s Clean Slate Tattoo Removal program, which offers to remove visible gang-related tattoos as part of the city’s effort to support high-risk and gang-impacted youth. Initiated by the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force in 1994, the 10-week program offers to remove gang-related tattoos on the neck, hands, wrists, face and other exposed parts of the body in exchange for the participant’s commitment to education, employment and 30 hours of community service, according to Xochitl Montes, a community coordinator for the program.
“It’s a major asset to the city of San Jose and to the participants that have been through it,” Montes said. Participants meet from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday at the Hank Lopez Community Center, located at 1694 Adrian Way. Montes said the classes cover topics on trust, communication, and relationships. Another aspect is introducing the participants to career prospects, by teaching them how to prepare for an interview, for example, or bringing in professionals or representatives from local colleges to talk to the participants.
Once they complete the course in the first week of July, the participants will qualify to have the tattoos removed at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. The program is free and accepts anywhere from 30 to 40 participants for each cycle. Participants must be between 14 and 25 years old and residents of San Jose. They must be working or in school and they cannot be on parole or probation. For more information about the program, call (408) 794-1660.
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