Stand Up AJ” is to replace a drug-prevention coalition that started serving Apache Junction in 2008 and is dissolving.

A drug-prevention group forming in Apache Junction recently held a Zoom meeting with 27 participants. They ranged from law-enforcement officials to educators and National Guard Counter Drug Task Force representatives.

“So, I have to tell you the response is just overwhelming me. It’s actually got me a little bit emotional here just to see how many people are coming together for this cause that is greatly near and dear to my heart, as I know it is to all of yours,” Apache Junction resident Shelly Verley, coalition director, said. “I just thank you so much for your time.”

The group is to replace a drug-prevention coalition that started serving Apache Junction in 2008 and is dissolving, she said.

One of the orders of business Aug. 26 was to choose a name. Getting the most votes was “Stand Up AJ.”

The group also listened to a presentation on the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program by Cpl. Marshall Harshman, Apache Junction Police Department’s community and media liaison officer, and AJPD Officer Carl Halperin, who is the D.A.R.E. officer for Apache Junction High School.

D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 and is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teach children how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug- and violence-free lives, according to https://dare.org.

“It’s actually a very effective program,” AJPD Cpl. Harshman, who worked as a D.A.R.E. officer for five years, said. “The new curriculum is now called ‘Keepin’ it real’ and rather than focusing on individual drugs — the dangers of those drugs — the main focus of the program now is to talk about some resistance strategies.”

D.A.R.E. is now a decision-making model — define, assess, respond, evaluate, he said.

“It actually gets to the symptom of the problem rather than just dealing with drugs as the problem,” Cpl. Harshman said.

One focus is how to deal with bullies — including those on social media, Officer Halperin said.

“The idea about law-enforcement being involved in prevention started really with the D.A.R.E program. Since that time, D.A.R.E. has progressed,” he said. “We went from, basically, teaching the evils of drug use to teaching things beyond drug use (such as) how to deal with bullies; cyber-bullying is kind of a big thing that goes on now on social media.”

Students go through scenarios in his classes, Officer Halperin said.

“I go into the classroom and … we teach resistance, but it’s more than that — it’s critical thinking…. ‘What is being asked of me? What are my choices? How can I make the best possible choice for me?’” he said. “And then the evaluation aspect of that is as soon as you make that choice, you’ve got to evaluate it, right? ‘Was that a good choice? Could I have done something different?’ And we go through different scenarios in the classroom.”

The drug-prevention group also saw a slideshow of statistics from the Pinal County portion of a 2018 Arizona youth survey on substance use, exposure to violence, driving under the influence and other factors.

Leaders are needed for the coalition, such as a chair, vice-chair, secretary and treasurer.

The group plans to meet by Zoom at 2 p.m. the last Wednesday of each month.

“Among our first tasks will be to collect and analyze data from our community to see where the needs lie and how best to address those needs with the overarching goal of reducing drug-use in Apache Junction,” Coalition Director Verley said in an email.

For more information, contact Ms. Verley at [email protected] or Arizona National Guard Counter Drug Task Force representative Sgt. Ashley Thompson at [email protected]

From Daily Independent

Thank You Letter from St. Mark School

Thank You Letter from St. Mark School

“Thank you for all you do to promote D.A.R.E. program implementation in the communities of America. During the 2018/2019 school year, we were excited to provide the D.A.R.E. Program for the first time to our 58th and 6th graders. Officer James Saunders from Precinct…”

Rexburg Wins National Contest and Gifted New Car for D.A.R.E.

Rexburg Wins National Contest and Gifted New Car for D.A.R.E.

The Rexburg and Madison County D.A.R.E. program has a new vehicle thanks to local fourth graders and Rexburg’s water conservation efforts. Wyland Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to clean water and oceans, donated a new Toyota Highlander Hybrid to the D.A.R.E. program…

Green Awarded D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year

Green Awarded D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year

Stanly County resident Todd Green was awarded D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Officer of the Year at the North Carolina D.A.R.E conference in Beaufort.Green, who has been a D.A.R.E. officer since 2000, also serves on the North Carolina D.A.R.E. board as...

Inspiring Talks Fuel D.A.R.E. Leadership Campers

Inspiring Talks Fuel D.A.R.E. Leadership Campers

This past weekend, 88 students from the five high schools in Timmins attended the third-annual D.A.R.E. Leadership Camp at Camp Bickell. Valerie Demers, left, and Annabelle Breton, both Grade 12 École secondaire catholique Thériault students, were among the counsellors…

Suenalo Vocalist Michelle Forman Honored as Champion for Children

Suenalo Vocalist Michelle Forman Honored as Champion for Children

Even before singer Michelle Forman had musical aspirations, the Miami native knew she wanted to help others. “Since I was a girl I felt I was supposed to do something bigger than me,” the longtime vocalist of Afro-Latin fusion band Suenalo said. “I was always…

Park Ridge D.A.R.E. Students Help Officers with Memorial Day Float

Park Ridge D.A.R.E. Students Help Officers with Memorial Day Float

On Monday, May 27th, a bunch of D.A.R.E. students helped D.A.R.E. Officers Greg Santangelo and Kyle Dutcher during the Memorial Day Parade. Brett Unger from Creative Pavers in Park Ridge donated his time and resources with painting, decorating, and pulling the...

In Memory of Pamela Gallade

In Memory of Pamela Gallade

D.A.R.E. America was privileged to be a recipient of proceeds from the Pamela Gallade Charitable Remainder Unitrust. Pamela Markey Gallade passed away last fall at the age of only 63. Mrs. Gallade was born in North Carolina and raised in Oceanside, California. She...

Maryland D.A.R.E. Officers’ Association Newsletter, April 18, 2019

Maryland D.A.R.E. Officers’ Association Newsletter, April 18, 2019

It was wonderful seeing everyone this year at the Maryland D.A.R.E. conference. We often get so wrapped up in our little part of the world, that we forget about our brothers and sisters in other jurisdictions. It is reassuring and comforting to see each of you…

Copyright © 2020 D.A.R.E. America. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2020 D.A.R.E. America.
All Rights Reserved.