Last year, 204 Grade 5 students were awarded their DARE certificates.
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) has seen much success since its inception in B.C. more than a decade ago, RCMP Chief Supt. Janice Armstrong said in a statement. It’s reached 800 schools in 97 communities province-wide and has become the foundation of the RCMP’s Community Prevention Education Continuum — educating students on drug prevention from kindergarten to Grade 12.
The free program relies largely on money raised by service clubs, socially responsible businesses, and individuals with a vested interest in the cause. In Squamish one of the biggest supporters is the Squamish Breakfast Club.
Locally, DARE consistently reaches 175 to 200 students, said David Hildreth, the club’s president. Hildreth stressed the importance of what he called a “much-needed program,” saying that “the impact it has on the kids is phenomenal.”
The impact is not just on the students, but also extends to those students’ families and entire communities, said DARE B.C. president Greg Tedesco. Drug and alcohol use is one of the most harmful social problems in society today and prevention is the key, he noted.
Thursday (Nov. 21) was officially dubbed “DARE Day” in British Columbia by RCMP Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens. Part of Drug Awareness Week, annually during the third week of November, the day is meant to honour the work of more than 250 uniformed police officers who teach the DARE program to thousands of students across B.C. each year.
For more than 10 years the Breakfast Club has funded the program which focuses its attention on Grade 5 students. The club raises, on average, $3,000 a year, which covers the cost of books, pencils and T-shirts. The club also provides the DARE vehicle and holds an annual golf tournament in June to raise money for the program.