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Students DARE to stay in charge of their lives

DARE course culmination celebrations included a visit and demonstration from K9 officer Cst. Scott Gannon and his partner Bruin.

More than 200 Grade 6 students in Prince Edward County who “DARE” to increase their self-esteem and say ‘no’ to drugs and violence were honoured recently as graduates of the Drug Abuse Restistance Education (DARE) program.

“The nine-week DARE program educates students on the truth about drug use, ways to stay in charge of their lives and encourages kids to make healthy choices for themselves,” says instructor Kim Guthrie, Prince Edward OPP Constable.

“The DARE reports written by the students at the end of the program affirm with me that some of these kids had no idea of the health and social consequences of drug use and the risky behaviours that go along with it,” said Guthrie. “I love reading their reports for the insight it gives me on their perception of
the course.”

She instructs the program at eight County public schools with an average of 210 students per year. Since the program began in 2006, about 1,260 students have graduated. Previous to DARE was the VIP (Values, Influences and Peers) program which ran for approximately 20 years in the County.

“The greatest joy in teaching DARE is connecting with the kids,
especially when they get to see an officer in uniform can actually share some of the same interests they have,” said Guthrie. “DARE can break down some of the barriers that some kids may already have in their lives about authority figures, either through actual or perceived situations.”
Course culmination celebrations included a visit and demonstration from K9 officer Cst. Scott Gannon and his partner Bruin.

After the presentation, Constable Guthrie congratulated the students on their successes in the program and the two officers presented each graduate with a Drug Facts for Young People magazine, a certificate, a bookmark with “Ways to Stay in Charge” tips; a special DARE collector pin and a coupon for a free hot beverage from Macs Milk stores. Cookies, fruit and juice were purchased from funds made available from various supportive service clubs in the community.

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