FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: October 8, 2019
Melanie Eustice, Chief of Administration and Public Affairs
Kimberly Edds, Public Information Officer
Office: 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-504-1917
Santa Ana, Calif. –The Orange County Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership (OC GRIP) is inviting members of the media to see how its program prepares elementary and middle school employees to spot early warning signs at-risk children in order to keep them in school and out of gangs. The program also provides school employees from custodians to school principals to become mentors for at-risk children.
The in-depth training, which given at 64 schools across Orange County, is offered to every school employee as a way of providing strong role models who can stop elementary and middle school students from getting involved in gang activity.
The media is invited to experience an OC GRIP faculty presentation on Wednesday, October 9 at 1:15 p.m. at Monte Vista Elementary School, 2016 W Monta Vista Ave,in Santa Ana. Please contact OCDA PIO Kimberly Edds at 714-347-8405 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
“OC GRIP is not only helping to deter gang activity; this program is helping to build successful students, successful families and successful people,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “When children are surrounded by strong role models who are there cheering them on, they know that anything is possible. When our children succeed, our entire community succeeds.”
The OC GRIP Training Team includes a Deputy District Attorney, a District Attorney Investigator, a Waymakers victim case manager, and members of local police departments. The presentations cover topics such including gang trends, how to spot if a student is involved in the gang lifestyle, and covers mandated reporting education for educators.
More than 800 school employees at OC GRIP schools currently participate in a student mentorship program.
Principals selects students who will benefit from a mentor relationship and match them with a volunteer. Mentors and the students eat lunch together, work on homework, set goals and design a plan to achieve those goals. Mentors also help students get access to outside resources to help them succeed at school and in life.
Over the 2018-19 school year, truancy decreased 81% among students who participated in OC GRIP. Additionally, 62% of parents of OC GRIP students reported an increase in family functioning and concrete support and 98% of faculty members at OC GRIP schools report that they have more access to support services for students in need.
Santa Ana School Board President Valerie Amezcua has personally seen the change due to GRIP in the 13 school sites in her district.
“We are truly appreciative of our partnership with OC GRIP, as it positively impacts the lives of hundreds of Santa Ana Unified students and their families each year through mentoring, character building programs, parent support and intervention, connections to mental health and other services,” said Amezcua.
“GRIP has empowered our parents to take an active role in their child’s education, as evidenced by the Parent Supporting Parent Meetings held annually at each GRIP school and the 329 active parent greeters who volunteer before and after school during the school year. In fact, Santa Ana Unified has the largest and most active OC GRIP parent greeter program in the county,” said Amezcua.
About OC GRIP
The award-winning Orange County Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership (OC GRIP) is a law enforcement partnership formed by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office which identifies at-risk youth and aims to increase school attendance and decrease gang activity. OC GRIP is currently in 64 schools in Orange County and is the largest of its kind in the United States.
The OC GRIP program involves multiple agencies and over 400 community partners such as the Anaheim Angels, Ford Motor Company, and Blizzard Entertainment, as well as over 4,000 volunteers to prevent kids from participating in gang activity. OC GRIP also supports students by holding hundreds of parent intervention meetings, faculty presentations, and gang prevention education courses prepared and delivered by law enforcement officials in English and Spanish.
OC GRIP strives to improve academics, increase school attendance and improve students’ attitude.