Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $91,112)
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 Township of Union Police Department's goal for their G.R.E.A.T. Program is to reach the young people of the Township at the earliest age possible to help them establish positive life skills, healthy conflict resolution skills, and an awareness of gang presence. By establishing law enforcement officers' presence in the elementary grades, the students become familiar with the G.R.E.A.T. officers and have time throughout their school experience to develop positive relations with law enforcement. Their Program is ongoing and increases in intensity during middle school years when the students are more likely to fall prey to negative peer pressure.
Union Police Department's G.R.E.A.T. Program begins with the 3rd graders receiving lessons 1 and 2 working up to the G.R.E.A.T. Core Program which is presented to all 7th and 8th graders (public and parochial) annually. Additionally, the police department runs the annual Jr. Police Academies and G.R.E.A.T. Summer Games Programs during the summer months for students entering 6th grade. Programs are also presented to educate parents on the dangers of gangs and awareness of the signs of gang activity. The G.R.E.A.T. Program is also presented to students who attend various summer camps within the Township. The police department also sponsors other events throughout the year which offer opportunities to educate the parents and students while providing healthy, fun-filled activities in environments that are drug and violence free. Those events include the Father/Daughter Dinner; Mother/Son Carnival; Bullying & Harassment Programs; Teacher Workshop Gang Awareness Presentations; Family Fitness Night; SWAT; Unmischief Night; Police Expo; Explorer Program; National Night Out; and Parent Programs.
In addition to funding the activities above, the Township of Union Police Department will purchase and outfit a vehicle for the Program and purchase supplies, give-away items and other materials to be used in the day-to-day operation.