The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco sponsored Combating Gang Violence in our Public Schools, Jails, and Our Streets at the Brentwood Campus of Suffolk County Community College on November 9, 2010. The symposium featured presentations by Robert DeSena, president, Council for Unity (CFU) and Sean “Dino” Johnson, the Gang Resistance Education and Training program (G.R.E.A.T.) by CO Everett Oliver, and the CFU School-Based Initiative by Eastern Suffolk BOCES Violence Prevention Coordinator / Riverhead CSD Theresa Drozd, MSW.
Lt. Darlene McClurkin, CO Alex Bryant, ESBOCES Violence Prevention Coordinator / Riverhead CSD Theresa Drozd, MSW, Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco, Sgt. Noreen Fisher, and Assistant to the Sheriff James “Butch” Langhorn
Robert DeSena speaks with a reporter from Long Island News.Mr. DeSena said, “Council for Unity is a program of miracles. The gang value system prevents men from being honest and being a part of their own family because they are a part of the gang family. CFU has a four-pillar value system - empowerment, family, unity, and self-esteem. Gang members learn to ‘slay their dragons’ by using the four pillars. When they change the way they think, they change their behavior, and they change their life.” Ms. Drozd explained how the Council for Unity model is incorporated on all levels in the Riverhead CSD. She said, “Riverhead’s Council for Unity is a proactive model. Members work together through a positive presence to promote tolerance and strive for unity.”
Theresa Droza provides information that will enable communities to reduce gang related violence in schools and neighborhoods.The symposium panelists consisted of law enforcement officers, educators, former gang members, and parents. Its goal was to provide information that would enable community members to better leverage existing law enforcement and local resources to reduce gang related violence.
Former MS 13 gang member Mario Puluc speaks to the attendees about how the Council for Unity (CFU) helped him transform his life. He lives by the four pillars of CFU – family, unity empowerment, and self-esteem.Former MS13 gang member, Mario Puluc, shared, “The program offered positive change for my future. I needed to stop the violence, the retaliation, and revenge. I used the pillars. It’s a process. It takes time and patience. Now I’m part of a family, the Council for Unity family.”
The GREAT program - Gang Resistance, Education and Training was presented by OC Everett Oliver. It's goal is to prevent youth crime and gang involvement.For more information about the Council for Unity model at the Riverhead CSD visit http://www.riverhead.net/. For more information about Council for Unity visit http://www.councilforunity.org/index.php.