Ocean County Library, Lakewood takes “Tools For Teens” on the road: great turnout


LAKEWOOD –  165 educators, school administrators, parents, students and community members attended a special bilingual presentation of “Gang Wise” at Lakewood Middle School.  The program was sponsored by the Lakewood Branch of the Ocean County Library and the Lakewood Middle School Parent Teacher Organization.

Lt. Edwin Torres, a 23-year veteran of law Enforcement in New Jersey, retired police Lieutenant and Juvenile Justice and Gang Expert, reviewed gang history, gang markings, the impact of gangs in schools and popular culture, general warning signs of gang affiliation and the reasons kids join gangs.

Since 2006, Torres has been a partner of the Ocean County Library Tools for Teens programming initiative.  While he has presented countless times at Ocean County Library branches, this presentation was one of the first attempts at bringing a Tools for Teens program to a school.  The attendance and response from the Lakewood community proved that gang education is something that educators, parents, and students still have a need for.  In addition to their Collaboration with the New Jersey State Parole Board, who teach G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training), Lakewood Middle School looks forward to expanding their gang awareness efforts even more after hearing the all too real repercussions of gang activity amongst children as young as 9 years old.

The Ocean County Library will also present a special Tools for Teens Presentation about Drug Use & Heroin at the following library locations:

Lacey Branch 11/25, 6:00 sign in with a 6:30 start time

Toms River branch 12/5, 6:00 sign in with a 6:30 start time

This presentation will focus on the effects of heroin on the body, how to tell if someone is using and what the legal ramifications are if you caught using or dealing. Professional development certificates will be provided.

Gang Wise and other Tools for Teens programs are funded through a collaboration between various community organizations including the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Youth Service Commission, Health Department, Probation-Juvenile Supervision, the Municipal Alliance Project, and the NJ Governors Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse.



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