GANGS OUT OF DOWNEY (GOOD)

Daily Point of Light # 2201 Jul 11, 2002

GOOD is the acronym for “Gangs Out Of Downey,” a community-based, pro-active organization. A local business and community member, with the support of the Downey Unified School District, the City of Downey, including the police department, and the Superintendent of Schools, founded Gangs Out Of Downey in 1989.

In 1989, the City of Downey was beginning to see acceleration in crime, particularly gang-related activity. In the late summer of 1989 (a summer in which residents were shocked to see almost all bus benches hit with gang graffiti), Gangs Out Of Downey developed a positive program to eliminate gang activity. All of the local service clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimist, Soroptimist), the Chamber of Commerce, Board of Realtors, the school district, local judges, elected officials and community leaders decided to become involved and take back the city.

Gangs Out Of Downey meets on the first Tuesday of every month, sponsors anti-crime activities, including the “10-20” Club, an organized program for “at risk” students between the age of 10 and 20. A former major league baseball player and employee of the Downey Unified School District run the club.

Gangs Out Of Downey also sponsors a community policing program, increased school campus supervision, an after school and summer sports program, and a youth jobs-career program that provides employment for “at risk” students. Gangs Out Of Downey has been featured in the media including CNN television.

Local businessman Phil Presicci teamed up with school board member Betty Ferraro and district officials Edward Sussman and Stan Hanstad to create the community-funded program, which runs on an approximate budget of $30,000.

Through the years, the anti-gang organization has offered counseling to youth and their parents and siblings, free sports and recreation programs for those at risk, and a nationally syndicated gang-prevention program for elementary school children called “Kids on the Block.” GOOD has also issued 25 scholarships, in amounts of $200 per semester, for those who complete its 10-week counseling program and choose to attend a two-year college.

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