ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. (News Release) — Nearly 100 youths will enter the community on Friday with the mission to make their community better.
The students made up of 6th- through 8th-graders at Howard Middle School will graduate from the G.R.E.A.T program having completed a 13-week course detailing the dangers of delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership.
“We’re proud of these students who have made a decision to take control of their lives rather than be controlled by peer pressure and gang-type influence,” Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said. “One fact I am proud of is this class started with less than half of its current graduating class, but students wanted to join.”
The Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program is an evidence-based, national and international gang and violence prevention program. It’s a program that has been building trust between law enforcement and communities for almost 30 years.
“These kids are tired of the fight,” Instructor Lori Bennett said of the Howard students. “They want to make a difference.”
During Friday’s ceremony, the graduating class will make their initial donation to a food bank that will benefit the families of students in need in the Orangeburg community.
The G.R.E.A.T graduation at Howard begins at 10 a.m. Howard Middle School is located at 1255 Belleville Road, Orangeburg.