Friday, April 10

National D.A.R.E. Day

Thursday is National D.A.R.E. day.  If you went through the public school system you probably know what D.A.R.E. is, but if not, it stands for Drug Awareness Resistance Education.  It is a program put on by police officers to educate children in elementary school about drugs and violence.  I remember really enjoying the program as a kid and some things that went on during that time still stick with me now.

D.A.R.E. began in 1983 in Los Angeles and is now an active part of 75 percent of the school districts in the nation and over 43 countries in the world.  The program involves classroom activities taught by trained police officers.  They teach students how to act in uncomfortable situations involving violence and drugs, and they teach about the facts of drugs as well.  Some of the main goals of the program are:

·  D.A.R.E. "humanizes" the police: that is, young people can begin to relate to officers as people

·  D.A.R.E. permits students to see officers in a helping role, not just an enforcement role

·  D.A.R.E. opens lines of communication between law enforcement and youth

·  D.A.R.E. Officers can serve as conduits to provide information beyond drug-related topics

·  D.A.R.E. opens dialogue between the school, police, and parents to deal with other issues


I went through the D.A.R.E. program from kindergarten until 6th grade and I found it to be a pretty fun and rewarding experience.  The officers who came to talk to us made it fun and passed around a stuffed lion that one person got to hold onto for the whole time each week they talked.  They did activities with us such as acting out situations and doing activity pages in a workbook. 

At the end of the program we had a D.A.R.E. graduation, complete with a poster competition and a story contest.  We sang a song that I still remember to this day: “D. I won’t do drugs, A. won’t have an attitude, R. I will respect myself, E. I will educate me now”. 

I think programs like this are really important to put on for young kids because it causes them to think about situations that they may not think about otherwise.  For kids who don’t grow up in a city atmosphere, they may never be exposed to drugs until one day way later in life and they wouldn’t know how to handle it properly without some previous practice.  You don’t perform a speech without practicing first, so why would you go out into the real life without practicing how to handle potentially dangerous real-life situations? 

It is really that there are officers willing to do this important job because this can be a difficult topic for parents to approach.  The officers do it in a professional manner that informs kids about all the things they need to know, without being overpowering and drilling hardcore drug facts into their heads.  The program mixes fun and learning to make a great balance for kids that need a good base at an impressionable age.  I am really glad I was able to experience this program and I hope it is still around when I have children of my own.

National Siblings Day

My sister Emilie is such an inspiration to me. Ever since she was born she has made an impact on my life. I remember when I was about 6 and my mom told me I was going to have a little sister and I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I would have to share my toys, play with her, and share my parents’ attention, and as a 6 year old that’s a big deal. However, after the initial shock, I learned to do all of those things and more. Watching my sister grow up has been an eye opening experience for me and in honor of National Siblings day; I am going to share with you some of the reasons why.

My sister has always been a sincere and honest person. Growing up she was just a whirlwind of energy and she always let people know if she liked their outfit or if they had a nice smile. She has also always been a very happy person overall. I don’t remember very many times when she has been truly angry or unhappy for an extended period of time. Most of the time she has a smile on her face and she is either singing or laughing.

Emilie also has the ability to enjoy whatever she is doing. When she was little, she would play with her dolls or more often her stuffed animals and she would be more than content just playing with them on her own. I also joined in with her occasionally and shared the fun, but even if I was busy doing homework or something she would have fun anyway. She has a great imagination and it really allows her to be open minded in a lot of different ways.

My sister hardly ever speaks badly about another person. Even if she encounters a person who is not being very nice, she will see the positives in them and give them a chance to redeem themselves in her mind. She is really generous and caring towards everyone she meets and really kind to animals. Emilie can’t see a puppy without wanting to pet it and she loves our dog Sophie more than anything. I think she would bring her with her everywhere she went if she could.

As my sister and I grow older, I realize more and more just how much she means to me and how important it is to me to have her in my life. My sister is someone who I can talk to and someone who will be there for me for my whole life. Even though our 6 year age difference seemed like a big one when we were young kids, as both of us mature we are constantly developing a deeper understanding of each other and that is something I will cherish for my entire life.