The Chester County Sheriff’s Office Showing Teens Our Real Mission Program (PROJECT S.T.O.R.M.) goal is to provide the community with a program which will help educate young people about the long-term effects of participating in criminal activity. Parents have reached out and voiced their concerns about the absence of youth programs. S.T.O.R.M. was implemented in order to reduce delinquent behavior concerning our youth as well as giving them a reality check on how life will be if they continue down the wrong path. S.T.O.R.M. is based on the assumption that the consequences of illegal behavior will act as a deterrent. S.T.O.R.M. intentions are to align with common cultural views that punishment and fear (i.e. getting tough on crime), is one approach to reducing juvenile crime.
The program was created and implemented by Sheriff Alex Underwood upon his installation as Sheriff of Chester County on January 8, 2013. Sheriff Underwood desired to help disadvantaged children and youth. The program emerged to help youth at risk of educational failure, dropping out of school, or involvement in delinquent activities, including gangs. The program is also a promising approach for enriching children's lives; addressing the isolation of youth from adult contact; and providing, on a one-to-one basis, support and advocacy to children who need it.
Project S.T.O.R.M targets at-risk youth in Chester and surrounding counties where over 60 percent of the youth eligible to receive Chapter I funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and have a considerable number of youth who drop out of school each year.
Project S.T.O.R.M. Objectives are to:
•Provide general guidance to at-risk youth.
•Promote personal and social responsibility among at-risk youth.
•Increase participation of at-risk youth in elementary and secondary education and enhance their ability to benefit from this schooling.
•Discourage use of illegal drugs and firearms, involvement in violence, and other delinquent activity by at-risk youth.
•Discourage involvement of at-risk youth in gangs.
•Encourage participation in service and community activity by at-risk youth.
The process for signing a student up Project S.T.O.R.M is as follows:
•Parent or guardian must pay an administrative fee of $75.00 (which covers cost of jail jumper, counselors, and dinner). The fee is $100.00 for out-of-county residents.
•Parent or guardian will bring the student to the Old Armory Parking Lot, 109 Ella Street Chester, SC at 6:00 PM. From there, the child will be transported by the Chester County Sheriff’s Office to 2740 Dawson Drive where he/she will be given a uniform to wear. A snack will be served before pick up time, which is 6:00 AM the following morning.
•Parent or guardian MUST attend a mandatory two hour Next Step Program workshop from 6:30pm to 8:30pm after they drop their child off.
If there are any questions, parent or guardian may contact Lt. Johnny Neal, Program Coordinator for PROJECT S.T.O.R.M. (803) 209-8595.