BELLE FOURCHE — The Belle Fourche Police Department is asking for donations to help keep D.A.R.E graduation special for students.
The drug abuse resistance education program (D.A.R.E.) was established in 1983 in Los Angeles, Calif. and is implemented in 75 percent of the nation's school districts and in more than 43 countries worldwide.
But the D.A.R.E. program is not the drug abuse resistance program it once was. Last year, D.A.R.E. America implemented a new curriculum called “Keepin’ it REAL,” where the focus is less on drug and alcohol resistance, and more centered on teaching students responsible decision-making, self-awareness and management, understanding others, relationship and communication skills, and handling responsibilities and challenges.
“These skills help students to resist the pressures of drug and alcohol use,” Katie Allart, school resource officer and D.A.R.E. instructor with the Belle Fourche Police Department wrote in an e-mail to the Pioneer. “Students can apply the skills they learn from D.A.R.E. to many different aspects of their lives. It is important to recognize the hard work and dedication of the D.A.R.E. students by providing them the opportunity to graduate from D.A.R.E.”
Throughout the 9-week curriculum, fifth-graders from Belle Fourche Middle School learn a variety of skills, including how to make responsible decisions, how to choose positive influences, and how to avoid making bad decisions, like using drugs or alcohol. After the course is over, students celebrate their accomplishments with a commencement ceremony that includes a guest speaker and every student receives a diploma celebrating their accomplishments. A representative from each of the five fifth-grade classes reads their winning D.A.R.E. essays aloud, and Allart offers a review of the new D.A.R.E. program, as well.
So, officers with the police department are asking for donations to help ensure that D.A.R.E graduation remains a special event. Allart said the plan is to purchase a D.A.R.E. T-shirt for every student that graduates, medallions for essay winners, and other classroom materials. The goal is to raise $800.
“Any donation that you would be able to provide is greatly appreciated,” Allart wrote.
“I would like to thank you for considering a donation to this program and supporting our community’s youth.”
For more information or to donate, call Allart at 645-0490 or reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail a check to the Belle Fourche Police Department, 1010 8th Ave., Belle Fourche.
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