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Making a Difference: Your G.R.E.A.T. Legacy -- 2019 G.R.E.A.T. Training Conference On October 14¬–16, 2019, the G.R.E.A.T. Program hosted its second Central American G.R.E.A.T. Training Conference in San Salvador, El Salvador. This was a two-and-a-half-day event for 236 attendees representing six Central American countries. The conference was presented in both Spanish and English, with the help of simultaneous interpretation and bilingual materials. At this year’s conference, titled “Making a Difference: Your G.R.E.A.T. Legacy,” speakers presented a total of 22 workshops and three plenary sessions, all designed to remind participants that each child is an opportunity to make a lasting difference. Presentation topics ranged from “Discipline in the Classroom” and “Engaging Youth in Public Safety Through Leadership Programs” to “Sexual Diversity Concepts” and “Ethics in the G.R.E.A.T. Workplace.” Attendees also participated in country-specific networking sessions and a hands-on workshop on games to play with students when hosting a G.R.E.A.T. Summer Program. The feedback from the conference was tremendously positive—the main complaint was that the conference was not long enough. “This excellent conference is creating a G.R.E.A.T. impact in my personal life. It has inspired me to be all that I can be and to inspire the children with whom I come into daily contact.” “The information was well-received and renewed my motivation and hope in the work I’m doing.” “The organization of this event was impeccable.” Two award-winning youth dance teams from El Salvador kicked off the conference with dance performances. The G.R.E.A.T. mascot, Paxton, made appearances during registration and the closing ceremony, which added to the uniqueness and fun of this event. Our closing speakers, Carlos “Famoso” Hernández (former International Boxing Federation super featherweight champion and the first Salvadoran world champion in any sport) and his wife, sports psychologist Verónica Hernández, emphasized the importance of understanding how to overcome our obstacles to make a difference in the lives of the youth we encounter. Their message was impactful. To see pictures from the 2019 G.R.E.A.T. Training Conference, visit the G.R.E.A.T. Facebook page.

New Shipping Charges for G.R.E.A.T. Student Handbooks Since 2006, the G.R.E.A.T. Program Office has provided G.R.E.A.T. Student Handbooks and related materials free of charge to all active, certified G.R.E.A.T. instructors. Over the last few years, we have been able to maintain this practice despite continually shrinking grant appropriations. However, the combination of the reduction in available grant resources and rising shipping costs has now made the practice unsustainable. We will continue to cover the cost of producing the handbooks, certificates, and family letters, but it will be necessary from this point forward for participating agencies to pay the cost of having these free materials shipped to you. Effective immediately, handbook orders will include a shipping charge of $20 per carton of 50 for middle school handbooks and $17.50 per carton of 50 for elementary school handbooks. Payment can be made by credit card from the online order form; by using this method, there will be no delay in shipment. If payment is made by check, the order can still be placed online, but the shipment cannot be released until the payment is received. We regret that this change in policy has become necessary and hope that it will not affect your agency’s ability to provide the G.R.E.A.T. Program to the youth of your community. Although this means that the required materials for the Program are no longer entirely without cost, the cost remains quite low at just 35 to 40 cents per student. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact us at (800) 726-7070 or information@great-online.org.
New Optional G.R.E.A.T. Classroom Tool: G.R.E.A.T. Citizen Essay Contest Template Have you ever wondered what G.R.E.A.T. students are doing to demonstrate that they know what it means to be a G.R.E.A.T. citizen? The G.R.E.A.T. Program has developed a new tool to find out and to further engage the students: an essay template that allows G.R.E.A.T. instructors to host an essay writing contest for your students. With it, the students can creatively share what they do that aligns with G.R.E.A.T. principles and values and what makes them G.R.E.A.T. citizens! A special thanks to G.R.E.A.T. Officer Marilyn Gurnell of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for originating this idea. This template is available for use by all G.R.E.A.T. instructors and is completely optional. It can be found on the Instructors Resources page of the G.R.E.A.T. website. The template also includes writing space for the students, although more pages can be attached, if needed. One idea for implementing the template is to have students share their essays with the class and vote for a winner. Involving the community in celebrating the essay contest winners is another way to implement the template and foster positive relationships between law enforcement officers, their students, and the communities that they serve. To share your essays with us, please email information@great-online.org. We are eager to read about all of the G.R.E.A.T. things your students are doing!

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