Big Mama’s Safe House launches G.R.E.A.T program

The belief is everyday people can help reduce violent crimes and improve public safety.

Crimes are up across the city, particularly violent crimes.

Homicides have jumped up 67% compared to last year, according to San Antonio Police Department.

The troubling trend of gun violence is seen in San Antonio almost daily.

“It really makes me feel really sad because we have solutions, right?” Bennie Price, CEO of Big Mama’s Safe House said. “And we know what the solutions are, and those solutions are alternative crime prevention.”

That’s why Big Mama’s Safe House is stepping up to make changes, starting with its G.R.E.A.T program.

“G.R.E.A.T stands for Gang Rehabilitation Ending Affiliation Ties and in a nutshell, it’s saying nobody else in and not my child,” Price said.

The belief is everyday people can help reduce violent crimes and improve public safety.

Price was inspired to create the program after learning about the community violence interruption campaign -- a national movement where communities strategize ways to end violent crime.

“We’ve take taken a public health approach to ending gun violence. We believe that gun violence is a disease and we’re going to the root cause of it,” Price said.

The G.R.E.A.T program is being met with support in the East Meadows neighborhood.

“You hear the things about East Side and it’s always negative guns, drugs, violence, all the bad stuff. But nobody ever hears about these people that are putting in the work, putting in the time, their efforts, and that they care about the kids and the folks in this community,” Sulema Mendoza, a mom who lives on the East Side, said.

“It’s going to take all of us, not just one. We don’t work in silos. We work together collaboratively, and we want a capacity build,” Rose Williams, executive director for Big Mama’s Safe House said.

This is the first G.R.E.A.T community resource fair. Big Mama’s Safe House is committing to doing this every month to make meaningful changes and make our community safer.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.