Pubdate: Sat, 22 May 2004
Source: Daily Herald (IL)
Copyright: 2004 The Daily Herald Company
Author: Avian Carrasquillo
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


The Wheeling Police Department started a busy weekend Friday by
honoring the 124 fifth-graders at Whitman Elementary School who
completed the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.

Officer John Abbio was in charge of the DARE program at Whitman.

Abbio said the 17-week program, which shows students how to deal with
peer pressure and helps build a child's self-esteem, has long-lasting

"I had my doubts at first, but I've run into kids that have graduated
from the program and years later they still remember everything they
learned," Abbio said.

However, Abbio fears that state cuts in funding for the program could
make it a thing of the past.

"Next year we've been informed that it will be a 10-week program,"
Abbio said.

Whitman Principal Ralph Cook was pleased with the students'

"It's a really great opportunity to show them how much we value their
work in the program. My hope is that they will carry these life
lessons on into middle school and later on in life," Cook said.

The Wheeling Police Department will continue its work with children
from 7 to 10 p.m. today at the Wheeling Park District Community
Recreation Center with its Rockin' with the Cops program.

The event is designed to give area fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade
students an opportunity to hang out with officers in a social

DARE was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and gives kids skills to avoid
involvement in drugs, gangs and violence. DARE is a police officer-led
series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten
through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive
drug and violence-free lives.

DARE reports that the program is now being implemented in nearly 80
percent of the nation's school districts and in more than 54 countries
around the world.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin