Cobb RISING gang prevention program honored at Chicago conference

From left: Kit Cummings, Probation Supervisor Sharon Mashburn, A.C.E. CEO Kalique Woodbury, Judge Wayne Grannis, Asst D.A. Charlotte Lomnicki, and A.C.E. Counselor Kyrsten Sprewell.L-R: Kit Cummings, Probation Supervisor Sharon Mashburn, A.C.E. CEO Kalique Woodbury, Judge Wayne Grannis, Asst D.A. Charlotte Lomnicki, and A.C.E. Counselor Kyrsten Sprewell. (photo provided by Ellen Kennerly)

Cobb County’s RISING gang prevention program, founded by Juvenile Court Judge Wayne Grannis in 2019, was honored with “Spirit” awards at the annual National Gang Specialist Training Conference (NGCRC) in Chicago.

To learn more about Cobb RISING and the awards they received, read the press release reprinted below and watch the video from their January graduation ceremony embedded at the bottom of this article.

Cobb team’s gang prevention efforts gain national recognition

Cobb’s RISING team was the talk of the 24th annual National Gang Specialist Training Conference (NGCRC) in Chicago Aug. 2-4. Members including Cobb County Juvenile Court Judge Wayne Grannis, Gang Specialty Court Probation Supervisor Sharon Mashburn, ACE Counselor Kalique Woodbury and Kit Cummings were honored with “Spirit” awards recognizing “promising new Initiatives in the field of gang prevention, gang intervention and gang counseling.“

RISING was established by Grannis in 2019 to interrupt the path of first-time, gang-related offenders and underserved youth, offering counseling services and life-skill resources to kids aged 14 to 17. The program involves collaboration with local law enforcement, school officials, the district attorney’s office and other support agencies. Upon successful completion of the 12-month accountability program the kids have their records sealed and their charges expunged, receiving a true second chance.

The first cohort graduated in the fall of 2020, the second group is currently underway and the team is preparing to launch the third cohort. “The conference was both enlightening and a bit overwhelming just to see the magnitude of the problems we are facing with today’s youth,“ said Cummings. “However, it was very encouraging to see the overall response to Judge Grannis’ new initiative. We have lots of work to do.”

The conference offers workshops and presentations from numerous experts in the field of gangs and gang violence from around the country.

The RISING presentation was well-received and requests for more information on the program are coming in with the hopes of replicating it in different parts of the country.

The NGCRC Spirit Award recognizes new promising initiatives in the field of gang prevention, gang intervention and gang counseling. Cummings, Grannis, Mashburn and Woodbury each also earned two new gang specialist certifications.

L-R: Kit Cummings, Judge Wayne Grannis, Probation Supervisor Sharon Mashburn. (photo provided by Ellen Kennerly)

Watch a Cobb RISING graduation ceremony

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