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Pictured are City of Tonawanda Police Chief William Strassburg, Exalted Ruler for the Elk’s Lodge James Sutton, and Officer Jason Balling.

TONAWANDA – In support of the recently re-launched D.A.R.E. Program at City of Tonawanda schools, the Elk’s Lodge #860 has generously donated $1,000 to the City of Tonawanda Police Department in support of the cause.

This donation coincides with the goals of the Elk’s Drug Awareness Program. The goal is to educate youth in the affects drugs, alcohol, and tobacco can have on them and what the miss use of them can have on their lives.

In order to raise awareness, the Elk’s Drug Awareness Program works with parents by educating them on how to tell if their children are using drugs and alcohol and how it affects their behavior and life.

While the day-to-day work for the D.A.R.E Program is handled by the City of Tonawanda Police Department, the Elk’s Lodge strongly believes in helping to make this difference in the schools and the community. This is why they work with local D.A.R.E Programs.

“The Elk’s, in general, are involved in the community and drug awareness…donating to the police department and their D.A.R.E Program mirrors one of the programs that we are involved in,” said Paul Ertel, of Elk’s Lodge #860. “That’s why we picked that to donate to.

As a result of City of Tonawanda Police Chief William Strassburg re-implementing the D.A.R.E Program in Tonawanda schools, Officer Jason Balling of the City of Tonawanda Police Department was appointed to head this program about five weeks ago.

Balling was appointed as the School Resource Teacher in October of 2014.

“The D.A.R.E Program is beneficial, because it allows for students to get to know the police officers. Most of the time, interaction with police officers is negative. This allows the opportunity for kids to ask questions,” said Balling.

He continued, “The program is intended to help the kids make educated decisions when it comes to real life situations and peer pressure.”

Balling was thankful for the donation provided by the Elk’s Lodge.

“It’s great to have different organizations helping other organizations in the community. It really brings us all together,” said Balling.

The $1,000 will be put toward weekly prizes and t-shirts for students upon their graduation from D.A.R.E. in June.

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