Right now, hundreds of D.AR.E graduations are going on around Minnesota. These are in recognition of the work done by thousands of students during the fall semester. The above picture was taken at a Taylors Falls graduation (Lino Lakes Police Dept.) this past week.
In just a few short weeks, the D.A.R.E. officers will head back to the classrooms to start our spring semester. Over the past 25 yrs., Minnesota D.A.R.E. Officers have instructed well over a million students!
While at a graduation this past week in Monticello, hosted by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office – DARE Officer Craig Canton, I heard a fantastic essay from a student. I had to ask the officer for a copy as she did such an amazing job explaining the D.A.R.E. program.
This essay (a part of the D.A.R.E. program) was written by: Maddox, in 5th grade at Little Mountain Elementary. Her teacher is Mrs. Nygaaards and they are with Monticello School District 882.
D.A.R.E.: Much More Than “Just Say ‘No’ to Drugs”
When you spell out the acronym D.A.R.E. as “Drug Abuse Resistance Education” your initial reaction is that this is going to be education and training about drugs, such as cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco. Although drugs and drug use, misuse, abuse, and prevention are important parts of D.A.R.E., D.A.R.E. is actually so much more. D.A.R.E. is about:
· Making safe, healthy choices every day;
· Developing resistance strategies to help with these informed, wise choices;
· Managing stress and peer pressure;
· Communicating clearly, confidently, and effectively;
· Identifying and reporting bullying, both the bullied and the bullies.
Without question, these same strategies and tactics may be related to and used for drugs, but they can also be used in everyday life. To me, this is the real power of D.A.R.E.
One aspect of the D.A.R.E. approach and process that I have found very helpful and informative is the D.A.R.E. Decision-Making Model (DDMM). I am a Peer Mediator at Little Mountain Elementary and the DDMM steps of Define, Assess, Respond, and Evaluate (DARE) have been helpful and logical in defining and resolving the issues, concerns, and challenges when dealing with conflicts between peers. Although I cannot discuss specific Peer Mediation cases or examples, the DDMM steps have been crucial to resolving these cases efficiently and effectively. It is also helpful that the DDMM steps can be abbreviated to DARE since this helps me remember and follow the steps in a logical and practical way. With such great results, I will continue to use the DDMM steps in both peer mediation and everyday life.
I promise to use the D.A.R.E. approach and process and the D.A.R.E. Decision-Making Model to not only understand and deal with drugs, drug awareness, and drug use, misuse, abuse, and prevention, but also:
· To make informed, safe, healthy decisions every day;
· To manage stress and peer pressure;
· To communicate clearly and effectively;
· To battle bullying, and to deal with other conflicts in everyday life.