Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2019. 5:00 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Today, United States Embassy in Belize Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Keith Gilges engaged with Standard 6 students from Hills of Promise Seventh Day Adventist School in Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo.
Gilges received a warm welcome with a personalized welcome sign on the chalk board and a special greeting by one of the students.
Community policing officer, Corporal Josue Mckoy teaches the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program at the primary school.
The lesson today was based on developing the skill of becoming active listeners.
Gilges participated in the lesson as a student, narrating one of the scenarios of the lesson and then participating in a group activity with the students.
The interactive session culminated with Gilges extending gratitude to the students and primary school for allowing him to participate and extending well wishes to the students.
The activity ties in with Belize celebrating Children’s week this week and World Children’s day.
The students listened attentively as he shared his experiences when asked to do so within his group.
The G.R.E.A.T. program is one of the many tools offered by the United States in supporting Belize and the Central American region to improve citizen security, decrease impunity, and prevent crime.
The program is an initiative done in partnership with the Belize Police Department.
The G.R.E.A.T. program seeks to assist youth to identify gang recruitment and avoid gang membership, prevent violence and criminal activity, and develop a positive relationship between young people and law enforcement.
The program uses a skills-based approach that draws on cognitive, behavioral, and affective learning.
The G.R.E.A.T. program uses only sworn law enforcement officers as trainers to begin that relationship building process, provide the students with positive role models, and to capitalize on the officers’ experience in dealing with criminal behavior and its ramifications, as well as their ability to recognize gang members and recruitment methods.
As of August 2019, a total of 269 police officers have been trained as G.R.E.A.T. instructors and most importantly, over 20,758 children have completed the program in Belize.
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