The South Eastman Rotary Club is carrying on a twenty year tradition in Steinbach. President Kyler Bergen says it has been that long that their club has been sponsoring the D.A.R.E. program.

D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education and in Steinbach the program is offered to grade six students by RCMP Community Constable Dennis Redikop. Through the program, Redikop teaches young people about making responsible choices, how to deal with peer pressure and the health effects of drug, alcohol and tobacco use.

Redikop says one of his goals is to break down barriers with students and become an approachable presence.

“When I go to classes every morning, it makes them feel more comfortable asking me questions, talking to me,” says Redikop. “Which leads them to when they are in high school and I am there for whatever reason, they can come talk to me.”

Redikop says he is hopeful that through the program, students will learn to make smart choices. He wants for them to know who they can go to and who to talk to, when they need help.

“If there is going to be situations where they don’t know what to do and what they need to do is learn they can go talk to a trusted adult, to seek out their support network and ask for help or for advice or for encouragement,” he says.

The program is made up of ten lessons. Redikop notes his favourite part is hearing the essays at the end, to find out what it is they took away from the program.

Bergen says D.A.R.E. is about more than just drugs and alcohol; it is also about bullying and peer pressure.

“You are going to learn about what happens if my friend is taking these drugs,” he explains. “What happens if my friend asks me to take these drugs.”

The Rotary Club held a fundraising luncheon Thursday for the D.A.R.E. program. Bergen says thanks to the financial help from generous donors, last year they reached 1,100 students in Hanover.

From Steinbach Online

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All Rights Reserved.