BROOKLYN - Some former gang members who say they have left their pasts behind are stepping up to protect young people from following in their footsteps.

Dwayne Anderson is a former gang member who was incarcerated for seven years. He, along with others with similar pasts, are looking to mentor young people to steer them away from a life of crime through Being Intelligently Guided, or BIG.

BIG officially started this past Saturday. The group will use a space in East Flatbush to mentor youth and hold after-school programs.

Pastor Damian Bennett founded BIG. He says its goal is to reach out and help former gang members like himself, in addition to victims of crime and abusive relationships.

Bennett says he hopes that the program's work will lead to less kids heading to prison in the future.