GANG RESISTANCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING (G.R.E.A.T.)
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
The Gardena Police Department has implemented a program in its middle schools called Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.). G.R.E.A.T targets 7th grade students to resist the pressures of joining gangs by showing the consequences of gang involvement. G.R.E.A.T. helps the students become responsible members of their communities with instruction on goal setting, resisting pressures, resolving conflicts, and understanding how gangs impact the quality of their life. The G.R.E.A.T program lasts nine weeks culminating with a graduation ceremony.
2. When was the program created and why?
The G.R.E.A.T. Program was started in 1991 by the Phoenix Arizona Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The main reason for creating the program was the concern with the high number of young people between the ages of 12-21, becoming victims of violent crimes in the United States because of their involvement in gang activity.
3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?
The program has not been able to provide statistics on reduced gang activity on a national scale. However, locally, the teachers report that there has been a drop in cultural motivated fights on and off campus since the program started. It is still too early to determine if this reduction can be attributed to the G.R.E.A.T. Program.
4. How is the program financed?
The Program is funded by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms G.R.E.A.T, Grant.
5. How is the community involved in the program, if at all? How has the community responded to the program?
The community involvement in the program is minimal during the regular school semester. In the summer program, community volunteers, including some parents, assist the instructors with the program. Food is supplied by vendors at discounted rates.
The program is highly accepted by the community, the parents and the teachers. The GREAT Program continues to expand with added support and new programs with the same objective of keeping kids out of gangs.
6. Contact person:
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.