In 2012-13, PAL introduced this program to middle schools in the San Mateo-Foster City School District. As statistics have shown, the prime ages for introduction into gangs and delinquent behavior begin during the ‘tween years. The San Mateo Police Activities League realizes that ALL youth are at risk of negative influences and no one is exempt from pressures of gang recruitment, alcohol and drug usage, bullying and cyber-bullying, teen pregnancy, and other issues.
The GREAT program brings uniformed police officers into 6th grade classrooms for a 13-week program to teach social defense skills and positive decision making.
The GREAT program helps youth avoid gang membership, prevent violence and criminal activity, and develop a positive relationship with law enforcement, PAL’s mission. This is accomplished by using a skills-based approach that addresses three domains of learning – cognitive, behavioral, and affective. The GREAT program produces attitude and behavioral changes through a unique combination of skills training, cooperative learning, discussion, and role playing. Students are provided with many opportunities to model and practice relevant life skills. Once students have rehearsed these skills, they will be more likely to use them in real-life situations. Each student is asked to prepare a “giving back to the community project,” execute their project, and report back at a school assembly. Officers have become mentors, guides, and friends to the students at each school.
After two years in the classroom, our School Resource Officers, and others who relate with the kids often, have seen the positive results of the program, and the school district has renewed the program for another year. Another POSITIVE PROGRAM coming from PAL and its officers!