Jose is a member of a notorious Chicago street gang. He volunteered to participate in the Memory Bridge project through a Chicago Public Schools program called “Saturday School” to earn service-learning hours and make up missing school credits. But there is a problem: his high school is in enemy territory – on the turf of his gang’s bitterest and bloodiest rival. During the week he is safe on the school bus, but on Saturday he has to walk to school.
The security guard at the school helps Jose map out a safe route to take to school so that he can avoid the rival gang’s territory. It is by no means the quickest route, but it is the least dangerous.
On the last day of the program, Jose lingers to ask the teacher a question.
“Excuse me,” he says, looking around nervously. “I was wondering something.”
“What is it?” the teacher asks.
“I was wondering…Would it be OK if I use what I learned in Memory Bridge and go talk to the old people in my neighborhood.”