Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $100,000)
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 Birmingham will use the G.R.E.A.T. funds to support the delivery of the elementary, middle school, families, and summer components to approximately 4,458 students and 35 families. Currently, there are more than 30 known gangs within the city. The gangs present a significant threat to the safety of the community, particularly since most are linked to drug and gun related crime. Through the grant, the city police department will identify and work closely with at risk youth in order to provide the education and support that offers alternatives to gang membership and violent behavior. In addition to the G.R.E.A.T. curriculum, participants will be introduced to alternate programs that involve police athletic teams and the YWCA to further encourage students to make the right choices.