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2007 GREAT Grant

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $67,896)

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 Bethlehem's Police Department has adopted the G.R.E.A.T. program with the goal of preventing youth crime, violence, and gang involvement by all youth. By remaining proactive within the schools and community, the department hopes to create positive interactions between students, parents, and police officers. The department believes that these multi-pronged efforts will create safer schools and communities and reduce precursor attitudes and behaviors associated with possible gang-related violent behavior.

Currently, the Bethlehem Police Department, in partnership with the school system, offers the G.R.E.A.T. Program in grade 7. Four full-time uniformed officers teach the G.R.E.A.T curriculum in each of the four middle schools. Two additional officers will teach on a part-time or as needed basis. They are all G.R.E.A.T. certified and teach in full uniform.

The Bethlehem Area School District provides classrooms for the officers to use. This allows the officers to focus on an age group of children who are at the crossroads in making the decision of becoming involved with gangs or not. The officers remain at their school all day. They become what a lot of these high-risk kids need - a positive male role model and someone with whom students can discuss any problem.

The City of Bethlehem will use their 2007 G.R.E.A.T. funds to continue the G.R.E.A.T. families component based on the belief that by continuing this program, they will have the ability to get parents more involved in their kids' lives. The program will help families strengthen themselves by improving communication, increasing family skills, and enhancing family role models and decision making skills.


Date Created: August 21, 2007