The night Sergio Argueta attended the funeral of a close friend killed in gang violence, he heard the mother weeping, “Why my child?” . Broken by his mother’s tears searing into his heart, Sergio turned around and changed his life.
Growing up, survival of the fittest was a harsh reality for Sergio, and at an early age he joined a street gang. The illusion of brotherhood, support and protection attracted him, and he ignored the violence and tragedy that marks gang life. After a friend received a twelve year prison sentence and two others were killed, all within a year, Sergio realized that his own poor decisions had contributed to these tragedies.
Since then, Sergio has worked hard to improve the lives of others through his education. He founded and is the Board Chair of S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth Inc. (Struggling To Reunite Our New Generation), which is the first youth-driven, multi-ethnic organization in Long Island founded in response to violence. Sergio served for three years as Director of the Baccalaureate Social Work Program at Adelphi University and as an adjunct criminal justice professor at Nassau Community College. Sergio started from the bottom, earning an associate’s degree from Nassau Community College, then a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hofstra University and went on to receive the prestigious Turner Fellowship at Stony Brook University, where he had earned a master’s degree in social work. Sergio served as gang specialist for the Nassau County Youth Board; and is recognized as one of the region’s leading experts on gangs and youth violence. In addition to his work as Uniondale High School Attendance Coordinator , Sergio is currently an adjunct professor in the Schools of Social Work at Adelphi University and Millersville University in Pennsylvania. He is involved in various community organizing initiatives, and is Co-founder and Co-Convener of The Corridor Counts (TCC) which advocates for equity within some of the most marginalized communities in Nassau County. Sergio works tirelessly to save the lives of teenagers caught up in the cycle of gang violence.