Working in conjunction with Santa Cruz City Schools and the County Office of Education, the program is a multi-faceted approach to early gang prevention for local intermediate school-aged kids.
The nine-week program is designed to educate, mentor and guide troubled youth in the decision-making process. Through guest speakers, trips and activities, participants will focus on positive and negative impacts of decision making. For example, during the course on bad decision making, participants may hear from former gang members, drug users and gang investigators. They will tour a state prison, police department and even a local morgue.
The second part of the program focuses on positive decision making. Speakers in this section will highlight successes as a result of avoiding gangs and drugs. These speakers will include successful sports players, business people, police officers, elected officials, educators and others. Upon completion of the program the teens will participate in a formal graduation with local police officials, family and friends.
The program is modeled after a successful program in Southern California that has shown participants to improve school test scores, graduation rates, engage in less violent or negative behavior and avoid gang/drug use.