Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $79,787)
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 Americus Police Department will use the G.R.E.A.T. funds to support two full-time G.R.E.A.T. instructors within the Sumter County school system. Presently, the highest risk youth group in Sumter County is the middle school group. As the gangs progressively spring up in the community, there is a direct correlation to the rise in juvenile crime and instances of violence. This problem is rapidly spreading from the streets to the classroom. The G.R.E.A.T. program was implemented in Sumter County in 2001. Since that time, there has been a drastic decrease in the number of high school students that participate or are affiliated with a gang. This reflects the success of the program in this county.