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Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $23,046)

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 Boca Raton Police Services Department (B.R.P.S.D.) has participated in the G.R.E.A.T. Program since 1994 and is dedicated to educating youth about the dangers of gangs, violence, and drugs. Over the past 3 years, B.R.P.S.D. has documented an increase in incidents of gang-related vandalism (graffiti), auto theft, person and property crime, and drug offenses. Local youth gang members have been identified as possible suspects in violent persons and property crimes. According to the Palm Beach County School Board Police, gangs are using local school systems to organize and recruit members. Children as young as 12 years old have been identified as gang member 'wannabes'. The Boca Raton Police School Resource Officers have reported that gang activity in schools has become increasingly difficult to identify because gangs members are not outwardly displaying their colors nor wearing clothing that would identify them as such.

According to a 2006 Florida Department of Education School Indicators Report, Palm Beach County has seen a 42 percent increase in violent acts against persons at the elementary level. Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug related crimes committed increased 78 percent in 2004-2005* (*most current year available). Public middle schools in Palm Beach County had 343 incidents of violent acts against persons; 200 alcohol, tobacco, and other drug crime offenses; 199 weapons possession offenses, and 152 property crimes for the 2004-2005 year.

The City of Boca Raton will use the G.R.E.A.T. Grant Funds for Level 1 funding and will implement the middle, elementary, summer and families components. The first implementation will begin in July 2007 (and June of 2008) with the G.R.E.A.T. summer component hosted at the G.R.E.A.T. middle schools. The summer education and recreation programs will continue to build on the G.R.E.A.T. school based programs. Children will participate in recreational games, outings, and community service projects. The goals for the summer component are to provide opportunities for G.R.E.A.T. graduates to enhance both life and social skills; to make them aware of alternatives to getting involved in negative activities such as gangs, drugs, and violence, and to provide structure during the summer break.

The second phase of implementation will take place in October 2007 with the middle school educational components. Boca Raton's two largest public middle schools will host the G.R.E.A.T. program educating approximately 650 students. The elementary component will educate approximately 200 students.

In March of 2008, the third implementation phase consisting of the families component will be integrated congruent with their officer families component training. A six-week family component will take place at the two participating middle schools. Parents and youth will develop conflict resolution, communication, and strategies for success in raising responsible youth.


Date Created: August 20, 2007