The 1994 drive-by shooting death of 4-year-old Ashley Boss spurred the Phoenix Police Department to create a Community Effort to Abate Street (C.E.A.S.) Violence program to combat youth violence. After 25 years, the program has evolved into a working partnership between schools, block watch/community groups and the police department.
Originally designed to give 6th-8th grade students an alternative to violence and gang behavior, the focus now is on building relationships with students and communities through education and community service. The Wake Up! program teaches social and personal responsibility, community pride, life management skills and conflict resolution.
Wake Up! clubs are facilitated by police officers, usually the School Resource Officer (SRO) where the club meets. The youth are taught that they have choices and that bad choices can have bad consequences. The officers educate the students on substance abuse prevention, violence reduction, leadership and personal responsibility. The officers mentor the students and model positive behavior and alternatives. Participation requires commitment to attending meetings, completing community service activities, and having positive social behavior at school and home.
Relationships are created among the police, students, parents, schools, community organizations and local businesses.
There are several Wake Up! programs that operate summer programs, instilling positive values for the students to follow during the summer. School Resource Officers (SRO) facilitate these programs at their individual schools. The students are able to go on a variety of educational field trips, listen to guest speakers in their fields of expertise, hear lessons on topics relevant to today's youth, and participate in team building activities. The students also participate in community service projects during the camps. Examples of past projects include; sorting food donations as St. Mary's Food Bank, weeding and planting at community gardens, assembling meal packs for Feed My Starving Children and several campus beautification projects.