Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $250,000)
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 Philadelphia Police Department began the G.R.E.A.T. Program in 1993. This program is designed to prevent youth crime, violence and gang involvement while fostering positive relationships with law enforcement and the community. G.R.E.A.T. certified Philadelphia police officers began teaching in the Philadelphia school system in January 1994 and continue this tradition to this day. Students are trained to resolve problems by opening a dialogue with police, their parents and the community rather than to resort to joining gangs and their violent criminal activities.
With the 2006 G.R.E.A.T. funds, the Philadelphia Police Department is committed to providing the G.R.E.A.T. Program in the Philadelphia public, parochial, and charter schools. The majority of the students who will be instructed will be from public schools, and in the 6th grade.
The goal of the department is to implement all of the G.R.E.A.T. Program components in the upcoming year. The primary focus will be on the middle schools, where it is expected to impact at least 4,000 students. The Elementary Component will be utilized in smaller schools where a full complement of classes is not available within the 6th grade level. Each G.R.E.A.T. officer will perform at least one G.R.E.A.T instructional section per school per week, with approximately 4-5 classes, involving 120-150 students.