IMPD summer camp focuses on gang education and prevention | ICIN

IMPD’s Gang Resistance Education and Training camp is a two-week program geared for fourth and fifth grade and middle school students.

INDIANAPOLIS — It looks like a regular summer camp. 

“We need it. We still need it in our city,” said IMPD Officer Marilyn Gurnell.

Gurnell is not teaching math and reading.

“Our kids, as you can see the numbers are increasing in our youth, with the murders and the homicides and the robberies,” said Sgt. Bruce Jackson of Youth Services.

Officer Gurnell has been working to prevent gun violence and keep kids out of gangs. 

“This is the best part of the department,” Gurnell said.

Helping shape kids’ future has been her life’s work for more than two decades.

She teaches the G.R.E.A.T. camp. It stands for Gang Resistance Education and Training. The two-week camp is geared for fourth and fifth grade and middle school students. This year, there are 80 kids. 

“Steer them away from the gang environment, drug environment and instill success in them at an early age,” said Jackson.

It’s part of the Indianapolis Police Athletic & Activities League. The 81-year-old mentorship program uses various sports and activities to connect IMPD with kids. 

“The kids have the perception that police are bad. They are not. We are their friends, so we try to build that relationship between the community and the kids so they understand that we are here for them,” said Lea Gurnell, Director of Indy PAL. 

They’re bridging the gap to help prevent them from being on the other side of the law later. 

“If we can prevent the students that are growing up now from becoming part of the problem when they grow up, we’ve done our job,” said Gurnell.

They are always looking for volunteers. 

“It takes a village to help these kids, and without your help, we can’t do it without you. So, please step up, show up and help us out with these kids,” said Jackson. 

To volunteer, click here or call (317) 327-3187.

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