They took part in a gang summit hosted by Tulare County's Gang Prevention task force.
While adults listened to a deputy talk about "gang awareness", a former gang member spoke to young people. Joshua Huerta, former gang member, says "I want them to know that there is hope, that they don't have to be a part of a gang to get attention. The quickest way to get attention is to be successful and through education."
Wednesday night's program was bilingual and the first held in a rural area of the county.
Organizers say plans are underway to take the program into other communities later this year.