GREAT Program

Gang Resistance & Education Training

Please use the Community Program Request Form to request this program.

The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office recognized the need for a proactive approach in gang prevention here in Suffolk County. 

The G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) program is an evidence-based curriculum offered in many states throughout the nation. The classroom curriculum is taught by Suffolk County Sheriff's Office Deputy Sheriffs and Correction Officers who received specialized training to present to elementary and middle school students.  


Prevention as its primary objective, the program aims to prevent bullying, youth crime, violence, drug use, and gang involvement while promoting a positive relationship among law enforcement, families, and our youth. G.R.E.A.T. lessons focus on life skills designed to help students avoid using delinquent behavior and violence to solve problems, and further helps them make positive choices in life.

There are four components to the G.R.E.A.T. program:  a 13-session middle school curriculum, a 6- session elementary school curriculum, a summer program, and families training.

G.R.E.A.T. Middle School Component:
The G.R.E.A.T. middle school curriculum is a skills-based curriculum designed to produce knowledge, attitudinal and behavioral changes through the use of facilitative teaching, positive behavior rehearsals, cooperative and interactive learning techniques, and extended teacher activities. The curriculum is integrated with the National Learning English Language Arts Standards and National Health Standards and is based on effective research practices.

Program Structure:
The G.R.E.A.T. middle school curriculum was designed for middle school entry-level students in 6th or 7th grade. It is taught in the classroom by specially trained, uniformed law enforcement officers. The curriculum can be used in conjunction with other prevention programs that encourage positive relationships among the community, parents, schools, and law enforcement.

The Lessons:
The G.R.E.A.T. middle school curriculum consists of thirteen (13), 30 to 45-minute lessons designed to be taught in sequential order.

  • Relationship Among Gangs, Violence, Drugs, and Crime

  • What's the Real Deal? Message Analysis

  • Facts and Fiction About Gangs and Violence

  • It's About Us Community; Roles and Responsibilities; What You Can Do About Gangs

  • Where Do We Go From Here? Setting Realistic and Achievable Goals

  • Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: The G.R.E.A.T. Decision-Making Model

  • The Impact of Decisions on Goals

  • The Decision-Making Practice

  • Do You Hear What I Am Saying? Effective Communication

  • Verbal vs. Nonverbal

  • Walk in Someone Else's Shoes: Active Listening

  • Identification of Different Emotions

  • Empathy for Others

  • Say It Like You Mean It: Body Language

  • Tone of Voice

  • Refusal-Skills Practice

  • Getting Along Without Going Along: Influences and Peer Pressure

  • Refusal-Skills Practice

  • Keeping Your Cool: G.R.E.A.T. Anger-Management Tips

  • Practice Cooling Off

  • Keeping It Together: Recognizing Anger in Others

  • Tips for Calming Others

  • Working It Out: Consequences for Fighting

  • G.R.E.A.T. Tips for Conflict Resolution: Conflict Resolution Practice

  • Where to Go for Help

  • Looking Back: Program Review

  • "Making My School a G.R.E.A.T. Place" Project Review

The G.R.E.A.T. Elementary School Component
The G.R.E.A.T. elementary curriculum is a skills-based curriculum designed as a precursor to the middle school curriculum. This program establishes the foundation that prepares children for the intensified content and cooperation exercises taught in the middle school curriculum while developing a positive bond between law enforcement and youth. Reaching children at an earlier stage of development allows for a better transition into the middle school curriculum. The elementary curriculum is integrated with the National Learning English Language Arts Standards and National Health Standards and is based on effective research practices.

Program Structure:
The G.R.E.A.T. elementary curriculum was designed for 4th and 5th-grade students. Children who have aggressive behavior in the elementary school years are more likely to display antisocial and violent behavior as adolescents and young adults. By offering prevention education to students in elementary and middle school, it is believed that such programs have a better chance of affecting the developmental course of the problem behavior.

The Lessons:
The G.R.E.A.T. elementary curriculum consists of six 30 to 45-minute lessons designed to be taught in a sequence. Each lesson is accompanied by a parent letter that the student takes home explaining the lesson and encouraging parent/student interaction.

  • G.R.E.A.T. Beginnings

  • Program Introduction

  • Ground Rules

  • Bullying, Victim, and Bystander

  • To-Do or Not to Do

  • Decisions and Outcomes

  • Identifying Adults When We Need Help

  • Loud and Clear

  • Clear Messages

  • Practicing Different Ways of Communicating

  • Staying Cool When the Heat Is On

  • Identifying When We Feel Anger

  • Practicing Controlling Anger

  • We're All in This Together

  • Similarities and Differences

  • Respecting Others

  • Golden Rule

  • G.R.E.A.T. Days Ahead

  • Program Review

  • Being a G.R.E.A.T. Citizen

  • G.R.E.A.T. Promise

G.R.E.A.T. Summer Component
The G.R.E.A.T. summer program builds on the school-based curriculum by offering students an opportunity to enhance their social skills, giving them alternatives to gang involvement, and adding structure to the summer months. Interested students are asked to enroll and need a parent or guardian's signature on a Membership Agreement and Accident Waiver Form. The Agreement includes a list of rules that each student must agree to follow. Although the summer program is most beneficial when used as reinforcement for students that have received the G.R.E.A.T. middle school curriculum, students may be selected from other programs or directly from the community.

Program Structure:
Although each summer program may vary in length of time or other organizational elements, all programs should involve students in a variety of educational and recreational activities. Instruction in the G.R.E.A.T. core concepts, field trips, recreational and sporting events, and Awana Games activities are a part of an effective G.R.E.A.T. summer program. The program can help form positive community partnerships in the public and private sectors through a variety of community service projects.

The G.R.E.A.T. summer program provides each agency with the flexibility to address its particular issues and concerns within the context of lessons, field trips, or presentations to the students. The program should be consistent in helping the students develop life or career skills.

The Lessons:

  • Self-Image

  • Conflict Resolution

  • Juvenile Law and Procedures

  • Cultural Awareness/Sensitivity

  • Career Exploration

  • Communication Skills

  • Safety Education

  • Strengthening program

G.R.E.A.T. Families Component
G.R.E.A.T. Families is a research-based, family-strengthening program consisting of two components: a six-session family curriculum and a family/community resource guide for G.R.E.A.T. facilitators. The G.R.E.A.T. Families curriculum uses group interaction, activities, and skills practice to engage parents and children ages 10 to 14 in order to foster positive family functioning. Each session is facilitated under the guidance of a specially trained G.R.E.A.T. Families lead facilitator. This lead facilitator works closely with two other co facilitators to guide as many as ten (10) families (approximately 30 family members) through a variety of activities and discussion. Child care may be made available, by the sponsoring agency, for younger children of participating families.

By linking a universal family curriculum to specialized family assistance resources, G.R.E.A.T. Families provides G.R.E.A.T. officers with the basic tools needed to work effectively with families and family service agencies.

Strengthening communities by strengthening families through engaging parents and youth in cooperative lessons designed to facilitate better communication among family members and enhance family decision-making skills.

Program Structure:
The curriculum consists of six sessions, covering a wide range of issues facing today's families. Families are encouraged to attend all six sessions. Each session is designed to encourage positive behaviors and interactions and promote healthy family development. The session topics are listed below.

  • Introduction to G.R.E.A.T. Families

  • Overview of G.R.E.A.T.

  • Family Needs Assessment

  • Truth and Myths about Gangs

  • The Role of Families in Healthy Communities

  • G.R.E.A.T. Communication

  • Communications Assessment

  • Overcoming Communication Barriers

  • Practice Listening Skills

  • G.R.E.A.T. Family Skills

  • Benefits of Having Clear, Constant Rules and Limits

  • Benefits of Parental Monitoring

  • Effective Discipline

  • G.R.E.A.T. Role Models

  • Applying Personal Values

  • Common Personal Dilemmas

  • Consistent Expectations and Actions

  • G.R.E.A.T. Family Relationships

  • Family Time Assessment

  • Family Priorities

  • Family Action Plan

  • Families in the Electronic Age

  • Influences: TV and Movies

  • Influences: Video Games

  • Internet Safety for Families

Please use the Community Program Request Form to request this program.

The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office is an Accredited Law Enforcement Agency


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