Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $97,734)
The Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program is a life-skills competency program designed to provide students with the skills they need to avoid gang pressure and youth violence. G.R.E.A.T.'s violence prevention curriculum helps students develop values and practice behaviors that will assist them to avoid destructive activities. The G.R.E.A.T. program coordinates with federal, regional, state and local agencies, as well as individuals from community and civic groups. The goal of the G.R.E.A.T. program is to train law enforcement officers in a school-based curriculum in which the officers provide instruction to school-aged children in life skill competencies, gang awareness, and anti-violence techniques. Training in the core G.R.E.A.T. program is provided to officers from any state or local law enforcement agency.
The Carbondale Police Department plans to train four officers as G.R.E.A.T. officers to implement the middle school and summer components. The middle school curriculum will be taught to all (approximately 240) 7th and 8th grade students. Classes will be conducted twice per week and officers will rotate teaching or teach as a team. The summer component will be implemented in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club. This component will include the G.R.E.A.T. curriculum and other programming in the areas of character and leadership, education and career, health and life skills, the arts, and fitness, sports, and recreation. The police department has an established history of collaboration with local community agencies, the Boys and Girls Club, and the schools. In addition, the department is involved in Project Safe Neighborhoods initiatives in the Southern District of Illinois and will continue to work with the task force to address issues related to drug, gun, and gang violence.