Students Learn To Resist Gang Involvement
CHAPARRAL, N.M. — Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) was implemented on more than 150 middle school students in Chaparral. They were honored last week for their completion of the 13-week program sponsored by the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department.
The program is taught at several middle schools throughout Doña Ana County and engages students in several character-building strategies that help them deal with stressful adolescent situations, like gang involvement or drug activity among peers in their schools and neighborhoods.
The program has been an extension of the Community Policing Division of the sheriff’s department since 2005, organized and taught by Deputy Michelle Ugalde.
“What we see after this training is a higher understanding of how kids learn to deal with their anger,” said Ugalde. “They are more aware of how the choices they make affect their future, so we take them through various life skills like how to walk away from certain situations, and how to communicate effectively.”
According to Ugalde, the program teaches overall life skills that can also reduce the instances of bullying on campus.
“The refusal skills they are taught give them a self-confidence that makes them role models at school” she said, “and that’s what the program is about – giving kids training and education that they will hopefully pass on.”