In the midst of the holiday season, the Delaware Police Department is working with Delaware City Schools and Big Brothers Big Sisters to implement its GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training) Families Program.
The five-week program is designed to promote family relationships, help families avoid violence and drugs, and create stronger communities. Sessions begin with dinner for the families and lead to group and breakout sessions with children and their parents.
Delaware police officer and DARE instructor Rod Glazer heads up the program. He said the dinner is an important aspect of the evening.
"We have dinner for them because a lot of times that part of the family breaks down when they don't have a meal at home," he said. "Here, they sit down, interact and get a meal."
The program aims to educate both parents and their children. In some sessions, the two groups will be separated, and the adults taught a different lesson than the children.
"We do a quick session with the families together, and then separate the kids and parents," Glazer said. "We ask the kids and parents different questions, but basically the same kind of question."
In one exercise, parents were asked to describe the perfect child, while children were asked to describe the perfect parent. Glazer said they often find they want the same things from each other.
"When they get back together, they see they have the same ideas," he said.
There have been nine or 10 families per week in the sessions thus far, and Glazer said the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. "They're all really appreciative," he said. "They really enjoy it, and they've said they can't wait to come back for the next session. It's been really positive so far."
The program's final two sessions will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Dec. 4 and 18, at Willis Intermediate School, 74 W. William St.