Pubdate: Tue, 24 Nov 2009
Source: Vermilion Standard (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 Osprey Media
Author: Murray Crawford
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)
Bookmark: (Youth)


In schoolrooms throughout Vermilion and surrounding area Grade 6
students are learning about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Vermilion Constable Denny Martens leads seven classes in five
different schools in the DARE, Drug Abuse Resistance Education,
program. Which is a nationally run education program to help youth
resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence free lives.

"We talk about everything from tobacco, marijuana and alcohol to
bullying," said Martens.

"It's about how to say no, who to say no to and how to avoid
situations. What it's saying is how do I make a good, healthy choice.
That's what we're really trying to show here."

Currently the program is in its fourth week in the area schools, this
is Martens first year teaching DARE.

"I take the lesson plan, which is really detailed and precise, and try
to stick to it as much as possible," said Martens.

"But of course questions come up and that's the more important part.
I'll try and answer it and if not that day then I'll do it later on."

Martens has now led four classes in the DARE program. He attends the
classes dressed in full uniform with all his police tools.

"Every first class the number one question is about my firearm," said

"Then there's questions about how many people I've arrested. Those
things come up and we get them out of the way. That's why I come in
uniform so they can see it (firearm)."

Through the DARE program Martens said he has listened to people who
have taken the lesson to heart, which he said is the important part of
what he does in the schools.

"I've heard students, like a student I talked with in Grade 11, who
said, "Oh, I remember this, I took DARE,"" said Martens.

"I've heard several older students saying, "I remember DARE, and it
taught me this and that's why I don't do this." I've seen it a few
times and that's what we want to get out there."

An important part of the approach to DARE is awareness and information
and helping the students learn the cause and effect of the drugs,
alcohol and tobacco.

"In fact today my second class was about how there are 200 known
poisons in a cigarette where as with marijuana there are 400 known
poisons. They look at those figures and learn how bad it is," said

Martens, who is just starting to teach DARE, is impressed with the

"I think DARE is a great program I see a lot of enthusiasm and a great
response from the students," said Martens.

While getting the information to the students is an important part of
the DARE program Martens said it is still the students reponsibility
to make the decisions.

"I want them to have the ability to say no. I'm going to give them the
facts and then it's up to them," said Martens.

"You give them the tools to go out and make wise, healthy decisions." 
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