OCEAN COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE EFFORTS TO EDUCATE OC CHILDREN OF ALCOHOL, DRUGS AND GANG DANGERS GET STUDENTS NOD OF APPROVAL
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced that on Thursday (12/3) the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Toms River Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department collaborated to graduate the entire fifth grade class, approximately 100 children, of the Toms River Silver Bay Elementary School. This group of students is one of many for 2015 highlighting the continued growth of the G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) Program within the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor and partnering OC law enforcement departments. The program’s focus is on anti-violence, but also teaches important life skills that are solidified in both the group and individual setting with different themed lessons and practical exercises each week.
“Law enforcement must take proactive measures to prevent the spread of crime and violence,” stated Prosecutor Coronato. “The G.R.E.A.T. Program does that for those we hold most precious – our children. Most gratifying are the hundreds of student letters received singing the praises of the program and confirming valuable life lessons learned. As Silver Bay student Paul B. states in his letter to program instructor Det. Schwartz: “I know there are GREAT days ahead.” Coronato continued, “I commend the members of my Office and participating departments for working tirelessly to bring the program to so many of our area schools.”
This year the program has already graduated East Dover Elementary School students and next week we will be graduating all the 6th graders from Toms River Intermediate East (that program is 13 weeks long – verses the 6 weeks for elementary students). Hooper Ave Elementary School and Toms River Intermediate North are slated next for the program. By the end of this month the program will have imparted life skills/lessons to approximately 500 students from the Ocean County area for 2015. In 2014, close to 800 students in Toms River and Lakewood completed the school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curriculum designed to prevent delinquency, violence and gang membership.
OCPO brought the Six week program to Ocean County Schools in 2011 and have been continuously working cooperatively with other Ocean County law enforcement agencies to expand the program locally in an effort to reach as many children as possible. Those wishing more Information about the G.R.E.A.T. program can go to: www.great-online.org.
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