(WMC-TV) - A new group of grassroots crime fighters is on the streets, thanks to a successful youth program wrapping up its inaugural year in Memphis.
GRASSY is short for the Gang Reduction Assistance for Saving Society's Youth Program. It is recognized Thursday for weeks of hard work.
Students lined up for their certificates after successfully completing a program aimed at saving today's youth from entering into a life of crime.
The inaugural class of G.R.A.S.S.Y. was all smiles Thursday as they were recognized during a commencement ceremony at Trezevant High School.
"I feel wonderful. I feel like by me graduating um getting ready to start a new stage in my life," said Stacey Holliday, program participant.
The 120-hour, 10-week-long program was piloted in the spring of 2012 at Trezevant High School.
G.R.A.S.S.Y. provides youth with measures to improve the quality of life in a legitimate and positive manner that reduces the probability of anti-social behaviors. The program also serves as a crime, gang, and violence reduction initiative.
"Nobody wants their kids in a gang and stuff like that. They want them to go to college and be successful so it's a big step for us," said participant Andrecus Christopher.
Designed as an after-school program, students are also provided instruction from a veteran master craftsman. Instruction includes information for the building and construction trades fields.
Ronald Pope- Director of Student Engagement
"From here they'll be able to get their apprenticeship, so they'll submit the certificates to local trade unions or apprenticeship jobs become available these students will become prioritized to become apprentices," said Director of Student Engagement Ronald Pope.
If you know someone who could benefit from this program, call the Memphis City Schools Gang Initiative Office at 901-416-6295.