SAN FRANCISCO, May 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Stephen C. Herkins announced today this year marks the 20th anniversary of the national Gang Resistant Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program.
On the heels of this anniversary, approximately 90 students from PA Walsh Elementary School, Morgan Hill, will be recognized with certificates and G.R.E.A.T. T-shirts, which represent their effort to avoid gangs and youth violence. The students completed a 13-week G.R.E.A.T. program taught by an ATF Instructor. Morgan Hill Mayor Steve Tate, Claudia Rossi, Morgan Hill Unified School District Board of Education Trustee, and Special Agent in Charge Stephen C. Herkins will attend the achievement ceremony to present certificates and provide support for the students.
With the support and guidance of specially trained law enforcement officers, G.R.E.A.T. students develop beliefs and practice behaviors that will help them avoid violence. They learn to set goals, resist pressures, respect differences, resolve conflicts, and understand how gangs negatively impact the quality of life. The students also learn the importance of becoming responsible members of their communities.
The goals of G.R.E.A.T. include:
- Reducing the incidence of violent youth crime,
- Resolving conflicts without resorting to violence,
- Providing youth with skills to make sound choices,
- Providing activities for G.R.E.A.T. graduates during summer months,
- Involving teachers, parents, and communities,
- Teaching youth to recognize indicators of gang involvement in their communities.
ATF developed and implemented the G.R.E.A.T program with the Phoenix Police Department in 1991 to deter youth violence and crime by reducing involvement in gangs.
ATF currently has numerous partnerships with local and state agencies, as well as with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Police Athletic League.
Nationwide, more than 6 million children have trained in the G.R.E.A.T. program. To date, approximately 11,650 officers from 2,400 agencies representing 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Bermuda, the United Kingdom, and military personnel from overseas bases have been trained to present the G.R.E.A.T. curriculum in elementary and middle school classrooms.
ATF recognizes that enforcement efforts need to be combined with prevention to successfully combat the problems of gangs in our communities. For additional information on the program, visit G.R.E.A.T. at http://www.great-online.org.
More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov.
Contact: Helen Dunkel, Special Agent, PIO
Office: (925) 557-2815
Cell: (925) 202-8135
SOURCE Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives