Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $78,500)
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 curricula help students develop values and practice behaviors that will help them avoid destructive activities. G.R.E.A.T. program staff coordinates project activities with federal, regional, state, and local agencies, as well as individuals from community and civic groups. The goal of the program is to train criminal justice professionals to deliver a school-based curriculum that teaches life-skills competencies, gang awareness, and violence-avoidance techniques.
The city of Lowell, through the police department, will use fiscal year 2009 G.R.E.A.T. funds to continue its established program, reaching approximately 800 youth through the middle and elementary school components. In addition, G.R.E.A.T. officers will host a G.R.E.A.T. mini-camp during an April school vacation and a student police academy during the summer months. A mentoring program coordinated through the Lowell Boys and Girls Club will also be supported. As part of the mentoring program, the officers will promote G.R.E.A.T. lessons, offer anti-bullying and safety classes, coach sporting events, and participate in a homework club. The G.R.E.A.T. program allows Lowell police officers and youth to develop positive relationships, which in turn promotes the department's goal of safer communities and decreased youth crime, violence, and gang involvement.