The D.A.R.E. program has three main goals. First, D.A.R.E. seeks to provide students with a knowledge base on the effects of drug abuse that go beyond the physical ramifications and extend to emotional, social, and economic aspects of life. Secondly, D.A.R.E. aims to build decision-making and problem solving skills and strategies to help students make informed decisions and resist drug use, peer pressure, and violence. Lastly, an integral part of the D.A.R.E. program is to provide students with alternatives to drug use.
D.A.R.E. is a universal program designed to reach the general population, rather than "at risk" groups, and it is implemented in all fifth grade classes in Livingston Parish. Research has shown this to be a time when children are very receptive to anti-drug messages, particularly as they approach the age associated with drug experimentation.
Our D.A.R.E. program is funded by the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office. Specially trained, uniformed police officers conduct the lessons in the classroom. By employing law enforcement officers to teach the curriculum, D.A.R.E. brings the firsthand accounts of the officers' experiences from the street to the classroom. It is this unique aspect of the program that not only intrigues students but also helps to foster a positive relationship between the students and police officers.
The new D.A.R.E. keepin’ it REAL curriculum continues many of the strengths of previous D.A.R.E. lessons. Improvements have been made to be even more effective in encouraging students to lead safe, responsible, and drug-free lives. Here are some of the highlights:
- The new theme of safe and responsible choices provides a framework for teaching about decision making, risk, stress, communication, and peer pressure while providing youth with the information they need to make informed choices.
- There are increased opportunities to practice the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model and apply it to real life situations.
- The new curriculum covers a broad range of risks students may potentially face in their lives.
- The skills are now taught through stories. This includes videos, situations and role plays, and journaling to give students the opportunity to practice skills, write, and plan for the future.
After participating in our new curriculum, students will be able to:
- Exercise self-control particularly when under stress and pressure. The new curriculum will teach them to control their emotions, avoid impulsive behavior, and think critically about their experiences in order to plan a drug-free life.
- Identify the risks and consequences of their choices. The curriculum prepares them for the rapid changes and challenges by teaching them to evaluate the risks and consequences of their choices.
- Make safe and responsible decisions. The D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model continues to be central because youth this age need to understand how to think clearly and critically about the choices they face.
- Communicate more confidently and effectively, thus developing stronger relationships with peers, family, and authority figures.
- Become safe and responsible citizens by learning how to help others and know how to get help. We know youth of this age cannot do everything alone so the new curriculum stresses safe and responsible ways to give and get help.