How Important Is D.A.R.E.? – Officers Meet For Annual Training

“It’s really hard when you see someone that you know going down a bad path.”Dare

“There’s a lot of issues that confront these children today.”

D.A.R.E. — Drug. Abuse. Resistance. Education.

“We’re a prevention program, prevent things from happening,” says Rafael Morales, the North Central Regional Director of D.A.R.E. of America.

You probably remember yourself– or your kids– learning about ‘D.A.R.E.’ in school.

“It’s important for people to realize that children will learn about drugs, somewhere. Someone will tell them about drugs,” says Lloyd Bratz, Vice President of Regional & International Operations of D.A.R.E. of America.

Last week, law enforcement partners had an annual training to enhance their skills, and go over some of the new trends happening with young people today.

“It’s kindergarten through high school.”

Morales says, “This year we’re coming out with a new social media lesson, also talking about bullying, focusing on elementary vaping…unfortunately we’ve had a demand to get down to the lower grades because we’re starting to see a lot of unfortunately experimentation.”

So much was discussed during the training. From the student’s perspective…

“Especially in today’s age, everything changes so fast. There are different trends that pop up all the time. It’s important for students to be educated on the harms that come along with them. It’s important to have these conversations with them so they know what can happen to them if they continue these bad behaviors, or what can’t happen to them, ya know, the things they’ll miss out on,” says Jack Droelle, a D.A.R.E. of America Youth Advocacy Board Member from Michigan.

To the parent’s perspective…

“Maybe their parents don’t necessarily have those conversations with them or give them the right information. The officers are so interactive with the kids. The lesson plans are really directed towards the children to engage them,” says Jack’s mother, Stacie Semith-Droelle.

They say this program is crucial.

Morales says, “We need more role models. We need some more positive role models. And not just in the home but outside the home.”

“It’s all about building good relationships with law enforcement in your community and linking that with schools,” says Jack Droelle.

With better relationships, that means more memorable experiences.

Stacie says, “I couldn’t tell ya who my D.A.R.E. officer was. Where she went, he went. Whereas the kids now are seniors after they’ve went through it in fifth grade and sixth grade and they’re seeing their D.A.R.E. officers in the communities and they are reaching out to them when they are having issues.

“It empowers me also. This is a two way street. I always say to my kids, ya know what, my best teachers are my kids. Are the folks that are in the audience. I’m always learning and so it’s like a two way street. We’re gonna learn from each other,” says Morales.

And learning that good habits are as addictive as bad habits, but they say– they’re much more rewarding.

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