MODESTO — The Modesto City Council on Tuesday will consider accepting an $84,716 grant that would expand a program for troubled youth, focusing on those prone to gang violence.
The Wake Up Program facilitated by the Modesto Police Department teaches at-risk youths ages 12 to 17 the dangers of drug and alcohol use, gang affiliation, unprotected sex and other poor choices.
It is a rehabilitation program of sorts for youths who aren't in the juvenile justice system but need the resources afforded to those who have been in trouble with the law.
During sessions that meet once a week, kids hear lectures from former gang members, public health specialists and law enforcement. At least one parent must attend every class with his or her child.
It culminates in an all-day field trip to Deuel Vocational Institution near Tracy, where they participate in the prison's Straight Life Program for an uncensored look at life behind bars.
Past funding for the program has allowed for four sessions a year with 30 students in each session. The grant from the Board of State and Community Corrections will double the number of classes with the additional four targeting youths susceptible to joining gangs, according to Lt. Scott Heller.
The grant requires a full match from the city, which Heller said can be met with the salaries of the part-time reserve officer and part-time police assistant who run the program, therefore costing the city nothing.
The grant will help pay for services including overtime for officers speaking at the classes and chaperoning the trips to DVI, a Spanish- language interpreter and partnerships with community-based organizations. The Center for Human Serv-ices will provide counseling for parents and their children, and the Modesto Youth Soccer Association will provide recreational soccer for the children.
If approved, the term of the grant would be through Dec. 31, 2014.
People interested in the program can call (209) 572-9873.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter, @ModestoBeeCrime.