Led by the office of the Orange County District Attorney, GRIP works in 13 different communities to bring key, on-the-ground resources and proven anti-gang strategies to children, parents and faculty members in at-risk neighborhoods. Each of its key components elicit the participation of parents, law enforcement, local businesses, community leaders, educators and school faculty members—uniting community in a preventative fight against gang violence and drug activity.

Key Components of the Grip Program Include:

Truancy Sweeps & Interventions

Recent studies have concluded that poor school attendance is the number one indicator that a child is at risk for joining a gang and, in turn, not completing high school. That’s why the GRIP program’s primary focus is upon increasing school attendance. This is accomplished through truancy sweeps conducted at targeted schools. Truancy teams, consisting of Deputy District Attorneys and law enforcement officers, then visit the homes of chronically absent students. Children are escorted to school and parents are properly education on truancy laws.


Curfew Sweeps

Youth are more likely to become involved in gang activity when out past curfew. As part of the GRIP program, local law enforcement officers conduct coordinated, county-wide curfew sweeps on school nights to patrol the streets and ensure that kids get home safely. Curfew violators and their parents are educated on curfew laws and the increased chances of committing or becoming the victim of a crime after curfew. They are also educated on the importance of getting in bed at a reasonable hour in order to succeed at school. Curfew sweeps provide a non-punitive influence, assisting children and families to make better, safer decisions.

Student Education

Many components of the GRIP program are based on the simple but powerful philosophy that knowledge is power. When contacted at an earlier age and properly educated to identify and understand the repercussions of gang activity, the likelihood that a child will join a gang is demonstrably reduced. For this reason, timing is a key element in our preventative educational efforts. The GRIP program provides the resources needed to reach out to at-risk children in 4th-8th grades with important preventative, educational programs and valuable lessons in avoiding gangs and drugs.

Parent Education & Resources

Parents and families are a key component in the prevention of gang activity. They too need support and resources. Monthly meetings, called Parents Supporting Parents meetings, are held at each of the targeted GRIP schools. Through these meetings, law enforcement officers, probation officers, deputy district attorneys and social workers provide training to parents in at-risk communities on how to identify early warning signs of gang involvement. Parents are also educated on the positive consequences of ensuring their children receive a proper education and are provided with guidance and tools to assist them in keeping their children in school and away from crime. Each month, guest speakers attend to discuss important topics such as domestic violence prevention, immigration laws, mental and physical health tips and college preparation. More than 2,600 parents across 50 schools regularly attend monthly Parent Supporting Parents meetings.

Faculty Education

The GRIP program’s educational programs are not limited to students and parents. In order for successful prevention to occur, our schools must also be equipped to effectively combat gang influence. Educators and school faculty members are given training on local gang signs, symbols, colors, customs and indicators that a child may be at risk to join or become involved with a gang. They are also trained on the components of the GRIP program and the resources available to schools when a child is identified as being at risk for gang activity. Empowered with this information educators and school faculty can play an active role and, in essence, take steps to prevent gangs from ever forming. Each year, at the beginning of the school year, each school district is provided with gang education training. GRIP provides 31 Faculty Presentations at the GRIP schools.

Parent Greeter Program

The GRIP program invites and inspires parents to join a neighborhood watch and after school greeter program. Through the GRIP Parent Greeter Program, more than 3,000 parents across 50 participating schools volunteer to greet children on the way to and back home from school. The volunteers lead “walking school buses” of students through gang-dominated neighborhoods. This presence alone deters gang influence and dramatically reduces crime. The Parent Greeter Program provides families and communities an effective and peaceful way to fight back against gang influence. By uniting citizens and law enforcement agencies, this component sends a clear and powerful message to gang members in the surrounding area. Read the Los Angeles Times article on the Parent Greeter Program.

Strike Team Intervention Meetings

GRIP Strike Intervention Teams, consisting of law enforcement officers, probation officers, deputy district attorneys and social workers, meet with students and parents of students who have moved beyond the at-risk phase and have actually begun exhibiting gang behavior. Teachers, principals, representatives from Big Brothers & Sisters of Orange County and other community partners attend the meetings to provide guidance and resources. In these meetings, parents are sternly educated on their parenting responsibilities and the laws they are expected to abide by with regards proper care of their children and ensuring they attend school. Both children and parents are made to own up to and be honest about their negative behavior, negligence, poor school performance and gang activity. They are also warned of the legal repercussions of their continued poor behavior. While these meetings are an effective first step, the program also facilitates resources to help families stay on the right path. When needed, parents are put through parenting classes. Children are provided with positive incentives, after-school tutoring resources and opportunities to participate in team sports programs.

Faculty & Community Partner Mentor Programs

Faculty & Community Partner Mentor Programs
Through GRIP’s faculty mentorship program more than 1,049 teachers and faculty members across 50 Orange County Schools work one-on-one with students, acting as positive role models for the kids. The children selected for mentoring programs are those identified as being most at risk of joining a gang. Faculty mentors work with their mentees daily. They are also required to meet their mentee’s parents and participate in social activities with the students several times throughout the year. GRIP has also formed strategic community partnerships with local businesses and other organizations to expand its mentoring activities. One such mentoring partnership is with the Ford Motor Company. Ford’s employees, including Henry Ford III visit GRIP schools on a monthly basis to meet students and share about their careers. During these visits, Ford and OC GRIP identify at-risk students each year, in grades 4 through 8, who are offered an incentive to improve their grades, attendance and behavior with the reward of a visit to the company’s Irvine design facilities.

Blizzard Entertainment (creators of World of Warcraft/gaming industry giant) is our newest partner to establish a mentor program. The program is similar to the Ford Mentor Program in that employees mentored students at their schools and then invite them to their campus for Blizzard Day as an earned incentive. On Blizzard Day, the students visit the Blizzard campus and discover how to design a video game starting with the development of the avatars, story and adventure through different worlds.

Learn more about our Mentoring Programs with Ford and Blizzard Entertainment:

Student Incentives

Through its partnerships with private businesses and community organizations, GRIP is able to offer students opportunities to attend live professional sporting events, such as Chivas USA and Anaheim Angels games, as VIP guests. Students in GRIP-affiliated schools are also offered opportunities to participate in after-school athletic programs and summer athletic camps. Other examples of the incentives offered include a Thanksgiving dinner for the student’s whole family and movie nights. These rewards and programs are utilized as positive incentives to motivate at-risk children to improve their grades, school attendance and behavior. They are made possible through donations from local businesses and private contributions to OC GRIP.