Drug Abuse Resistance Education or DARE program in Orem is getting a boost from parental involvement.
For the past two years Orem City's Department of Public Safety has sponsored the DARE program in the sixth grades of elementary schools to teach kids to do more than "Just say no."Julie Baker, a sixth-grade teacher at Cascade Elementary, helped organize parents night at her school to explain the DARE program.
"We want them to be involved in keeping their children off drugs," Baker said. "We also want to tell them about the drug problem in Utah County and how they can help alleviate it."
There is more to not using drugs than just understanding the physical consequences.
Garry Guymon, one of the DARE officers, said the program teaches children that there are alternatives to using drugs, such as building a positive self-esteem, belonging to a good peer group and finding good role models.
Pat D'Arc, an Orem resident who is helping to expand the 17-week program, said the parents' role in the program is very important.
It's not just the relationship between the students, the school and law enforcement, she said. The parents need to work into the system to support what the officers are teaching the students.
"When I talk to parents, I tell them to find out about their students and to reinforce what the kids are learning," she said.
According to Jay Fletcher, another Orem officer assigned to the DARE program, the best thing about the program is it is pro-active, in the sense that its purpose is to get ahead of the problem.
"It's kind of like getting sick," he said. It's better to prevent the illness than trying to deal with it afterward.
D'Arc also said the DARE program has received a lot of support from the city and she thinks they will continue to support it in the future.
But right now, DARE, which began as a pilot program at Orem's Northridge Elementary two years ago, is only in 10 of the 15 Orem elementary schools.
Another officer needs to be assigned to the program to bring it to other schools, D'Arc said.
And D'Arc said it is better to keep the program in the schools where it is already established than switch schools every other year.
"We will remain in the schools we are in because it is unproductive to change when people like it," she said. "There has been a rapport built between the teachers and the officers, and the fifth graders are looking forward to it the next year."
The DARE students are going to repay Orem City for funding the program. D'Arc said the students will be participating in a service project during the first week of May.
Lack of funding has left some Orem elementary schools without the popular Drug Abuse Resistance or DARE program.
Schools that have the program:
Schools that don't