What is GAP?
The GAP (Gang Alternative Principles) Program seeks to prevent and intervene in gang involvement serving 100 male teens a year by providing wrap-around life skills and services. As the largest gang prevention program in Mecklenburg County, GAP has graduated 550 youth since its inception.
Is the gang problem really that bad in Charlotte?
Gang interest and involvement starts young. Black males in grades 8th-10 had the highest number of gang activity. In Mecklenburg County, there are approximately 1,862 documented or suspected members or affiliates comprising approximately 51 gangs and 95 cliques. Of that number, 1,755 are male and 107 female.
Tell me more about GAP services?
GAP uses an evidence-based curriculum to provide instruction on gang and violence prevention, life skills, leadership development, anger management and substance abuse. The program is based on elements of the US. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Best Practices Gang Model and the city of Los Angeles' 2008 gang initiative.
Who is your target audience?
We originally planned to serve 30 students in grades 7th-10th in our first session, but demand was so high that our first class had 59 students. Students were referred by school counselors, principals, juvenile justice officials, judges, parents and churches. Most are African-American and Latino and referred by Mecklenburg County Juvenile Justice. Quite a few attend GAP as an alternative to detention.
Who are the adult leaders?
We think we have the best staff in town. Our sessions are led by an all-male staff with backgrounds ranging from counselors to police to education to former gang members.
Who funds this program?
We originally received a grant from the NC Governor's Crime Commission, plus matching funds that we provide. The program now is being funded by the Mecklenburg County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.
How does the program work logistically?
Students attend an initial information session with a parent/guardian. They then meet half a day on Saturday for ten weeks from 9:00am-1:00pm. On two Saturdays, they also attend a field trip or community service activity. Sessions are held in the fall and spring semesters. Students are required to wear their GAP t-shirts and sign in and out. They rotate to different facilitators each session. They end each session with a hearty meal, basketball and a wrap-up.
When is the next 10-week session?
The Spring 2014 Session will start Feb. 1, 2014. For more info, contact Program Director Beryl Miller or GAP Manager George Wilkerson at 704.372.3742. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.