The Sabaitis Educational Institution is a program that works with schools, families and community members to help kids in Northwest Indiana to stay out of gangs. However, what makes this program unique is how it began.
Patrick Sabaitis, founder of the Sabaitis Educational Institution (SEI), is an East Chicago native and former gang recruiter. In his youth, Sabaitis used manipulative and intimidating tactics to expand the reach of the Latin Kings in East Chicago. Now, Sabaitis is using his intimate knowledge of these gang tactics and customs to create ways to save kids from being lured into that lifestyle.
In growing his organization, Sabaitis took on many other individuals with similar histories. Those who present and meet on behalf of SEI have past gang affiliations and want to use their experiences to help kids today.
According to Sabaitis and others at SEI, gang recruiters tend to target kids who are being bullied or abused in school or elsewhere. They prey on these children’s needs for acceptance, camaraderie and protection. To counter this, SEI meets with schools and community groups to discuss how to recognize and stop bullying and abuse. The organization also meets with families and mentors kids who may be on their way to joining a gang.
One of the primary programs at SEI, Reclaim Our Kids, has gotten funding from the Foundations of East Chicago and has increased the impact of SEI in Northwest Indiana. Reclaim Our Kids has received media attention within recent years which has increased the ability of the organization to help as many kids as possible.
For more information on SEI or how to help kids in your area, visit www.sabaitisei.org.