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Article updated: 2/27/2013 3:29 PM

Gang-awareness seminar for parents planned in Naperville

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Parents can get educated about street gangs -- and learn how to spot signs their children may be involved -- at a free seminar Monday, March 4, in Naperville, officials said.

The gang-awareness seminar hosted by DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin is set for 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the LindenOaks at Edward Hospital Outpatient Center, 1335 N. Mill St.

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"Kids today are smart," Berlin said in a news release. "They know how to hide potential indicators of gang involvement from their parents. That's why this class is so important. It gives parents the information they need to properly assess if their child is involved in gangs and steps they can take to keep their children from getting involved in gangs."

Joining Berlin will be Charla Waxman, a staff member with the National Gang Crime Research Center who also serves on the DuPage County Task Force on Gangs. Waxman, a doctor of education, has nearly 30 years' experience working with gang-involved adolescents and young adults, and is a past president of the Elgin Gang Drug Task Force.

The seminar is free to attend and open to the general public. Registration is not required but can be done by calling Mary Wells of the state's attorney's office at (630) 407-8106.

"Make no mistake about it: gangs are here," Berlin said. "As parents it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about the existence of gangs. We must know what signs to look for that may indicate whether or not our children are at risk for joining a gang or worse, have already become a member of a gang."

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