Monday, August 11, 2014

D.A.R.E. - ing to expand - Opinion by Brianne Fullerton

DARE is a Drug Abuse Resistance Education program taught in the Manchester School to all fifth graders. It is a great program to teach kids decision making skills and how to resist drugs and violence. I remember going through fifth grade as a shy kid, and every time Officer Matt Cyr threw the tennis ball to me as part of the name game, I tried catching it with a giggle and smile and responded eagerly, bringing me slightly out of my shell. 
In seventh grade at Windham Middle School, Officer Cyr returns to your new class and you’re refreshed on those decision making skills, and the education is furthered on drug and alcohol abuse. What happens after that? 

The DARE to Adventure program is a selective program of twenty-two seventh and eighth grade students nominated and interviewed by teachers and past DARE participants. Those twenty-two students are extremely lucky and envied. The program teaches students leadership and outdoor skills through kayaking trips, white water rafting, cliff propelling, and many other adventures. It shows the alternative to making bad decisions. Many of my friends who were chosen loved the program and said it was one of the best times of their life, some still talk to Officer Cyr as a friend. For other hundred or so students of that year that don’t get chosen? Those adventures that could change their life are never offered. 

Once you graduate from the middle school and head on over to the high school, the entire DARE program is mostly forgotten about, unless you were one of those chosen twenty-two students. I didn’t fully come out of my own shell until the middle of my sophomore year, and I wish there were more opportunities for someone like me to have life changing adventures earlier in my life to guide me in the right direction. This program should be available to more young students to help them come out of their shells and discover who they are before peer pressure and real life can attack, and should be continued into high school to help students grow even further avoiding drug or alcohol abuse. 

Adventuring is every young persons’ dream, and should be offered easily and affordable to students all through the year. I know I am not the only high school student who sits at home plenty of days throughout the summer not sure what to do, and often boredom leads to experimenting with drugs or alcohol by some teenagers. If the DARE program was expanded and furthered, it would be very successful, and drug and alcohol abuse would surely go down. The lazy days would be replaced by the next adventure, and kids can always look forward to something to do, drug free.

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