DARE pro­gram gone

Char­lot­te­town po­lice now of­fer­ing new, ex­panded youth health pro­gram

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE -

A new pro­gram fo­cus­ing on drug abuse and men­tal health, de­vel­oped by Char­lot­te­town po­lice and stu­dent ser­vices work­ers, rolls out next week in el­e­men­tary schools.

Healthy Me re­places the Drug Abuse Re­sis­tance Education (DARE) pro­gram, which taught Grade 6 stu­dents about the dan­gers of drugs, al­co­hol and to­bacco use. DARE has been slowly shut­ting down since 2014.

The new pro­gram still cov­ers the top­ics of drugs and al­co­hol abuse, but it also adds a men­tal health com­po­nent. Also now in­cluded in the pro­gram is a cy­ber­bul­ly­ing and so­cial me­dia com­po­nent

“With DARE, it talked about drugs and how they af­fect your body, but we never re­ally looked at the well­ness com­po­nent as far as men­tal health,” said Char­lot­te­town po­lice Const. Tim Keizer, who is a school re­source of­fi­cer.

Keizer said the new Healthy Me pro­grams asks young par­tic­i­pants to ask them­selves where they get their val­ues and be­liefs from and what are some of the out­side in­flu­ences on their lives.

“We talk about pos­i­tive peers and neg­a­tive peers and we get them to re­ally, kind of look in­side them­selves and try to fig­ure out who they are as peo­ple,” said Keizer.

Stu­dent par­tic­i­pants will re­ceive prizes and T-shirts, as well as par­tic­i­pate in a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony sim­i­lar to the DARE pro­gram. The new pro­gram, though it cov­ers more ma­te­rial, will be de­liv­ered in a much shorter time than the DARE pro­gram, with four classes in­stead of 10, said Keizer. Five Char­lot­te­town po­lice of­fi­cers have taken spe­cial­ized train­ing on the new Healthy Me pro­gram.

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