BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Science and engineering students from Brentwood High School are mentoring a bilingual third grade class about growing gardens hydroponically and healthy eating.

The older kids are telling the younger ones that having a hobby opposed to the dangerous gang life some are being lured into across Long Island. Their community has gained notoriety for all the wrong reasons, but the students are focused on change and motivation.

“Do you see how happy they are?” said student Hector Barahona. “Look at them, they are grasping to the hydroponics because it is an alternative to gang life.”

The State of New York has set aside $20 million to build a community center in Brentwood aimed at halting the lure of the MS-13 gang and it’s recruitment of a new generation into gang violence.

Science students who stayed off the streets and concentrated on school are enthusiastically serving as role models to the third grade bilingual class.

“They are teaching us a lot, how to plant hydroponics,” said student Sophia Cabrera. “It’s really nice that they’re here.”