Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $131,658)
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 G.R.E.A.T. program will reach elementary and middle school grade levels within the City of Petersburg because all youth in the area are deemed to be at-risk for potential gang and criminal involvement. The Middle School Component will be taught to all seventh graders in the two middle schools, totaling an average of 450 students. The Elementary Component will be taught to all fourth and fifth graders at the five elementary schools, totaling an average of 450 students in each grade. Therefore, during the 2007/2008 School Year, an average of 1350 students will receive G.R.E.A.T. instruction.
The Summer Component will be implemented in conjunction with the Petersburg Parks and Recreation's Summer Camps. There are six different camp locations that provide a ready audience for the officer to instruct at least 100 students a week.
The Family Component will be executed for the first time with this grant. Arrangements have been made with the Petersburg Social Services and the Petersburg Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court to allow for the referral of 10 families to the G.R.E.A.T. Family Component. Two families will receive G.R.E.A.T. instruction every Friday for six weeks. Approximately 10 families will receive G.R.E.A.T. instruction for over a 30-week period. The officer will travel to the home or will provide a designated meeting place. The goal of the Family Component is to teach better communication and decision-making skills, conflict resolution, and family values.
Implementing all components of the G.R.E.A.T. program will require one full-time and three part-time officers/instructors. Also, the Commonwealth's Attorney will receive G.R.E.A.T. instruction and will teach G.R.E.A.T. to the youth in the City.