With an estimated 13,000 documented gang members in Orange County, and some of the highest rates in recent years reported in Santa Ana and Anaheim, the need for the community, nonprofits and law enforcement to band together to keep students safe from gang activity is great. Throughout the year, we collaborate with local partners through the Anaheim Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (G.R.I.P.) to create safe and drug-free schools, remove barriers to learning and promote positive leadership skills among students, provide parents with the tools and support they need to raise healthy children, and train teachers and school support staff to identify gang behavior and at-risk students.
In May, we recognize the efforts of our volunteer parents, teacher mentors, and outstanding students that participate in our programs. Our Greeter Appreciation Event acknowledged 80 remarkable Parent Greeters who assisted in protecting and greeting students on campus, before and after school throughout the school year, showing the community and local gang members that bullying and gang behavior will be reported and is not tolerated on campuses. The presence of these Parent Greeters is an effective and peaceful way to send a powerful message and deter gang influence and dramatically reduces crime.
We were also proud to recognize 87 Teacher Mentors who went the extra mile to mentor students. These teachers supported students by meeting with them for at least 30 minutes per week, stayed in touch with the students’ parents monthly to touch base, and even ate lunch with their mentee regularly. These regular moments of connection are invaluable in providing a positive role model for the student, increasing their self-esteem, and providing positive guidance along the way.
Additionally, Waymakers provided at-risk Anaheim girls with a life-changing ‘Girls Club’ Girls Day on May 19, where 11 female students who are members of the Girls Club program earned a day of pampering as a reward for maintaining a minimum 2.0 GPA, having no unexcused absences or serious behavioral issues, and completing 35 community service hours during the school year. The girls received makeovers from Sephora, took a shopping spree at Forever 21, and enjoyed a gourmet three-course meal at the Anaheim Hills Golf Course.
We’re so proud to see so many students, teachers and parents making positive life choices and promoting healthy and sage development for the children in our communities. To learn more about Anaheim G.R.I.P. or get involved, visit anaheim.net/233/Gang-Reduction-Intervention-Partnership-.