NEW YORK – On Friday, June 9th, Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco, along with school-based Gang Resistance Education and Training Program (G.R.E.A.T.) instructors, participated in a graduation ceremony for 185 fourth-grade students from Brentwood’s Southwest Elementary School. The students participated in the eight week-long program to learn about ways to resist destructive behaviors, such as gang involvement, set goals and take positive actions to achieve them.
During the graduation ceremony, Sheriff DeMarco told the students to “Continue to work hard and remember the lessons you learned in class. I hope to see many of you become Deputy Sheriffs and Correction Officers one day.”
The G.R.E.A.T. program, which is currently offered in 8 of the 11 elementary schools throughout the Brentwood School District, and in 30 different schools throughout Suffolk County, is taught by specially trained Correction Officers and Deputy Sheriffs. It is an evidenced-based classroom curriculum designed to prevent youthful crime, violence, drug use, and gang involvement while encouraging positive relationships among law enforcement, children and families. G.R.E.A.T. lessons focus on teaching life-skills to help students avoid using violence to solve problems, and to aid them in making better choices.
In 2006 Sheriff DeMarco had the first Officer trained to teach the G.R.E.A.T. program in Suffolk County. The Sheriff launched the program in January of 2007, and thousands of students have participated in the successful initiative. In addition to elementary schools, the program is offered at middle schools, and is presented at summer camp programs sponsored by local townships and non-profit organizations. For more information about the G.R.E.A.T. Program, click here.
Photo Provided by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office. Press Release by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office. Press Release Made Available by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office.
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