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A panel of law enforcement, clergy and other community leaders participated in a Monday night forum for young men in Stockton with a goal of building trust between law enforcement and community.

The event at Delta College was hosted by Dr. Marlon Gayle who is one of the coordinators of My Brother's Keeper Academy, a program of Mary Magdalene Community Services.

"Our goal is to promote positive change and leadership in young men through mentoring, education, character building, volunteer work, and building healthy relationships with authority," said Dr. Gayle in an email to FOX40.

Gayle teaches young men to avoid confrontations with police.

‚Äč"It all comes down to taking authority over your own life, and having self-control over your own spirit and your own mind," said Dr. Gayle.  "And that's what we're teaching these young men."

When Gayle was a teenager, he got in trouble with the law and was expelled from high school after flashing a toy gun at a motorist who turned out to be an off-duty police officer.

He went on to follow a straight path. After getting his doctorate degree, he became vice principal at Bear Creek High School, the same school that expelled him when he was a teenager.

He shares his story with young people as an example of how they can thrive in life.

"Seeing people who have been successful, you think that could be me in the future," said one young man who attended Monday's forum. "If they have achieved it, then I can, too."

Gayle is the author of the book, "Turning Point: Promoting Strategic Shifts in the Lives of Youth Facing Adversity."