D.A.R.E. needs dollars

“It is the cheapest form of drug prevention information for kids.” - Corporal Martin Kooiman

Last week, the Trail Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program received $800 in donations from local groups, but they always need more.

Corporal Martin Kooiman from the Nelson Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Office says that the D.A.R.E. Program is invaluable to Grade 5 and 6 children, and it doesn’t cost much to put in schools.

“It is the cheapest form of drug prevention information for kids,” he said. “I think it works out to be around $10 per child for ten hours of good drug awareness information, prevention messages, coping skills and resiliency skills. It helps build assets within your children and it teaches them to be confident in terms of their decision making. Plus, the biggest thing, is they get the t-shirts. I have a daughter who is 15 and still has her D.A.R.E. t-shirt.”

Locally, the program is taught by RCMP officers in nearly every school in the Greater Trail Area, with exception of the private and francophone schools.

“(Officer Sherry Bentley) has been doing the D.A.R.E. Program in Trail for five or six years and she has been instrumental in raising the profile (of the program),” said Kooiman. “I have gotten lots of kudos from Fruitvale Elementary School where she teaches two classes and has graduation ceremonies that have been attended by mayors and councillors. She also teaches in Trail and out in Warfield.”

The most recent donations came from the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Kiwanis Club, the Royal Canadian Legion and the local Lions Club, and Cpl. Kooiman says the society needs more funding to keep the program moving ahead full steam.

“A long time ago, the RCMP used to raise funds for the program,” he said, adding that the RCMP Commissioner a few years back didn’t like the idea of officers soliciting for money. “We had to stop soliciting for funds and created a private society for the D.A.R.E. Program and we need the funds they collect to continue. The only thing (we had funded by the Federal government) was the books, but now those are funded by the society as well.”

To donate, visit canadahelps.org and search D.A.R.E. British Columbia to keep the program going.

-with files from Sheri Regnier.

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