San Francisco's 'United Playaz' celebrates silver anniversary of saving at-risk youth

For 25 years the United Playaz have been working to get kids on the right path and they say their work is not done yet.

Inside the United Playaz clubhouse on Howard Street redemption happens every day. Their mission is to save at-risk youth.

Rudy Corpuz said the United Playaz live by the code: It takes a hood to save the hood.

"Our lives are our testimonies," said Corpuz. "And when we speak to the kids, we speak to them real, we speak to them raw, and we speak from the spirit of love."

United Playaz has its roots in the gang violence that gripped San Francisco in 1994.

Corpuz said from that chaos some said enough is enough. A meeting of gang members was called at Balboa High School on October 8th. Corpuz said at the time he himself was on a path to drugs and danger.

"We started seeing the transition to what we could do when we're on this side of the gun, and help people's lives out. Instead of taking them, now we're giving life," said Corpuz.

Over the years united the organization has grown. They've conducted an annual gun buyback program, getting hundreds of guns off the streets and connecting at-risk youth with those who've been on the other side of the law.

United Playaz hires ex-cons--like Cesar Domantay who estimates he spent about half his life incarcerated.

"I used to just try to gang-bang so hard and do the wrong things," said Domantay. "And now, ever since I been in here, even way before that, I tried to change my life."

Domantay said since his last release, he's found work and his purpose at United Playaz, making a difference in the lives of young people headed down the same path he took.

Domantay said he wishes United Playaz had been there for him.

"I probably wouldn't be in prison, you know, because what we do here is we help kids. We help people. not just kids, even ex-convicts," said Domantay.

Corpuz said that connection is the key to their success.

"Sometimes when you have someone who's sharing with the the kids about they lifestyle, what they've changed, and the little kids are listing and [receiving] it, but they're giving feedback, it's building that person up, who's giving that presentation. So one hand takes care of, washes the other," said Corpuz.

The anniversary of that summit At Balboa High School is Tuesday the 8th, marking 25 years the Playaz have been working to end street violence.

Now with 25 years under their belts, organizers said they want to grow and expand out of San Francisco and into any community in need.