Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $60,000)
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 City of South Bend, Indiana is located in St. Joseph County which is approximately 90 miles east of Chicago, Illinois and 150 miles southwest of Detroit, Michigan. Due to the proximity of these urban areas, South Bend has been plagued with violence, drug trafficking, and a rise in gang membership. The South Bend Police Department is dealing with this ongoing problem targeting city youth, especially the intermediate grades of 5-8. Approximately 17% of South Bend's population is living below the national poverty level. Low family income yields to poor student performance, high drop-out rates, poor job skills and therefore leading to a feeling of hopelessness. These factors allow predators to lure children into gangs by idolizing the gang mentality through the acceptance of violence as a solution to conflict. The South Bend Police Department Gang Resistence Education And Training Program(G.R.E.A.T) will provide funding to the existing intermediate School Resource Officers reaching at risk youth throughout the city. An additional benefit for the South Bend Police Department in reducing youth violence, in-school crimes and gang activity, will be the implementation of the G.R.E.A.T Summer Component by reaching more than 1500 graduates from the 6th grade and other youth.