GRIP’s gang prevention is addressed through the education of school faculty, parents, volunteers and students at the targeted schools. The GRIP Advisory Board has addressed this need through the implementation of a gang-prevention curriculum for each of the groups.
- A 4-week curriculum teaches students the consequences of participation in criminal street gangs as well as focusing on creating positive self-esteem. Additionally, the School Resource Officer (SRO) meets either one-on-one or in small groups with every 4-8th grade student at the four participating school campuses. The SRO gains their trust, encourages participation in healthy after-school activities, discusses the risks of gang affiliation, and helps them understand the laws, penalties, and consequences relating to gang involvement.
- The parent and teacher education curriculum provides current information regarding the street gangs operating in their neighborhoods and schools. The curriculum focuses on recognizing “warning signs” that may indicate their child or student is at-risk of joining a gang. Positive steps that can be taken toward gang prevention are covered in the curriculum. Parent education sessions are also provided in parenting skills, counseling, basic family services and peer support. Teachers are familiarized with the variety of resources available to students and parents. GRIP presentations are also shared with the schools’ PTA and local Hispanic coalition groups.
- The GRIP partnership meets and shares information with civic and business organizations.
Other prevention activities include coordinated incentives and programs designed to fill gaps during off school hours:
- The Boys and Girls Club of Capistrano Valley partnered with GRIP to address the need for before and after-school programs for the students attending the four schools. The focus of the program is to provide a caring and positive adult supervised environment in which the students can participate in a variety of activities designed to improve socialization and interpersonal skills. The program also helps to improve the students’ relationship with law enforcement and to develop self-esteem and self-confidence. Assistance with homework, participation in recreation and athletic programs, and tutoring are also offered.
- The Los Angeles Angels Baseball Team partnered with GRIP last year in allowing 600 students with perfect attendance to meet players and attend a game. This incentive had an incredibly positive effect on attendance.
- GRIP recruited over 100 parents and volunteers to participate in a reading program at the schools. The readers spend an hour per week reading to students during lunch or before or after school.
- Nearly 100 teachers volunteered to be mentors and are spending that extra time with students after-school and on weekends to strengthen students’ connection to their school.