For Immediate Release                      Contact:   Deborah Gilleran         or             Tara Strickland
                                                                       732.987.2266                             732.987.2291

Georgian Court University-Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Help At-Risk Children Find the Role Models They Need

Conference Shares Research Study Findings and Next Steps

Lakewood, NJ, Apr. 8, 2009—Violence and gangs used to be thought of as problems of urban centers alone. Unfortunately both of these issues have come to the suburbs with youth often being affected as victims or participants.

On Friday, May 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., in the Mansion on Georgian Court University’s Lakewood campus, the university and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office will hold a conference on antiviolence and anti-gang strategies for youth. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and Georgian Court University have partnered to compile a listing of the resources available in the county’s school systems and 33 municipalities. Currently there is no formal documentation that provides this complete overview.

Each year, the prosecutor’s office conducts 15 to 30 presentations to schools that focus on violence and gang activity: how to recognize it and how to avoid and prevent it. The research conducted by GCU faculty and students in the sociology, anthropology, criminal justice, and social work departments will be used by the prosecutor’s office to apply for funding to increase the number of presentations, continue or increase the number of after-school programs, continue or increase programs that keep libraries and facilities open to midnight, and possibly develop new programs.

The study of youth-related services in the town of Lakewood and throughout Ocean County began on February 18 in Lacey, New Jersey, at the anti-gang training conference attended by Ocean County principals and superintendents. At the conference, 82 surveys were completed by school officials. These results, along with survey results from athletic leaders, social service providers, criminal justice agencies, and other individuals from the municipalities, will be presented at the conference at GCU on May 1.

The conference, which is sponsored by the OceanFirst Foundation, is open to the public at no charge, but reservations are required. For further information, please call Maja Meighan at 732.987.2105 or Ross Basen at 732.987.2280.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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