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Penticton  

Kids DARE to fight drugs

Chelsea Powrie

All five Grade 6 classes at Skaha Lake Middle School were celebrating Wednesday morning, following their graduating ceremony from the DARE drug and alcohol resistance training program. 

DARE, which stands for "define, assess, respond, evaluate," helps kids learn valuable decision-making tools.

"It's about drugs and alcohol and risky situations and how to avoid them," said student Ethan.

The program focuses more on the process of making a healthy decision as opposed to just saying no. It is intended to help kids think not only about drugs and alcohol, but about bullying and peer pressure as well. 

"I didn't think much of it because it was so boring at first, but now it really makes sense. It really can help with your future life," Ethan said.

The 10-week program involved 145 students, all of whom completed the program by writing an essay explaining what they had learned. It was run by coordinator and teacher Const. Kate Hansen, who has been running DARE programs since 2000.

"It is a very personal thing, I have kids myself and I want to make sure they are safe and can manage their choices in the best, most responsible way they can," Hansen said. 

She pointed to the prevalence of drugs and alcohol both in T.V. shows and movies as well as in kids' daily lives as a reason why programs like this are important.

"They want somebody that will talk frankly with them. We discuss everything, nothing's off the table, so they are able to understand what's happening and how to make safe choices around those decisions," Hansen said. 

Student Penelope enjoyed the process, and is happy to have new skills to guide her choices. 

"We use the 'DDMM,' DARE decision making model, to help us make better choices. And I hope this will make differences in our lives," Penelope said. 



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