Pubdate: Fri, 18 Dec 2015
Source: Expositor, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Brantford Expositor
Author: Heather Ibbotson
Page: A3


An updated program of drug, mental health and social media awareness
is being presented to children and youth in Brantford schools.

Part of a changeover that began in 2014 as a pilot project across city
schools in both the public and separate boards resulted in an agency
name change to TICK (Teaching Intelligent Choices to Kids) from the
former DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education).

"The DARE program met the needs of our community for a long time,"
said TICK Inc. president Susan Reid.

"We are now very excited about this enhanced educational program for
Grade 6 students. It has been well received by the students, educators
and professionals on the board," she said.

The DARE program was U.S.-based and out-of-date, Reid said. TICK is
now presenting a new Ontario-based program, developed by the OPP,
called KIDS (Knowledge, Issues, Decisions, Supports) to youngsters in
Grade 6, she said. The new program cost the TICK board $714.05 in a
one-time payment, Reid said.

KIDS is "a bit more relevant" in that it speaks to current issues such
as cyberbullying, suicide and self-harm, in addition to drug
awareness, Reid said.

The program offers a wider array of information on current issues in a
six-session format that includes a workbook, videos and class
discussion, said Brantford police Const. Rebecca Seibert, who is in
charge of delivering the program to youngsters across the city.

Issues addressed include youth and the law, peer to peer
relationships, online and social media awareness, drug awareness and
mental health awareness, she said.

The introduction of learning material dealing with online and social
media behaviour is important because of youngsters' access to tablets
and cell phones, Seibert said.

Addressing issues related to cyberbullying and mental health is
important because many of the youngsters in Grade 6 already have some
knowledge or experience of the issues through family or friends, she

"They know a lot more about things than I expected," Seibert

Over the course of the school year, Seibert will present the KIDS
program to about 1,300 Brantford youngsters.

Feedback received since the project's rollout has been positive, Reid
said, adding that the program content is more inclusive for students
and more relevant to Ontario.

TICK also offers a refresher course in drug and social media awareness
to Grade 8 students in advance of their entering high school, and
offers a student leadership program in which high school students take
part in anti-violence projects and poster contests, Reid said.
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