The Charlotte Division is pleased to honor Gang Alternative Principles (GAP), a subprogram of the First Baptist Church-West’s Community Services Association. GAP seeks to prevent and intervene in gang involvement by providing extensive youth programs, educational activities, and counseling services.
The program is exceptionally important, as the Charlotte metropolitan area has witnessed widespread growth in its gang population, with more than 53 gangs and more than 3,000 active members confirmed by local authorities.
Since the program started in 2008, more than 200 young men have successfully completed the curriculum that focuses on life skills, leadership development, group counseling, and one-on-one tutoring. GAP was the first program in North Carolina to bring various sects of gang members together in a church environment to participate in school and community activities.
GAP participants are typically referred by school counselors, principals, juvenile justice officials, parents, and church representatives. Students participating in GAP make a nine-week commitment to meet for half-day sessions on Saturdays. The program is funded by the Mecklenburg County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.