The Ottawa Police Department's D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program is focused towards the students who are currently being exposed to or will be exposed to violence and are vulnerable to peer pressures to try drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. The D.A.R.E. program, which has reached millions of students since its inception if 1983, targets students at an early age when prevention education is crucial prior to exposure. The D.A.R.E. program refrains from just telling students to say "no", it teaches them ways in which they can learn HOW to say "no".
The D.A.R.E. program operates in four key areas:
- Providing students with up to date or the most up to date information about drugs, tobacco, and alcohol.
- Teaching students ways to resist drugs and violence while providing stable alternatives to drug use.
- Teaching students decision making skills and the consequences of their behavior.
- Building students self esteem while teaching them how to resist peer pressure and make responsible choices in life.
The Ottawa Police Department D.A.R.E. program consists of two phases. The program is first delivered in fifth grade classes. The program provides students with the skills they will need as young adults to avoid gangs, violence, and to resist peer pressures they may commonly face in their lives. Fifth grade D.A.R.E. focuses on positive personal development and the forming of positive peer relations amongst peer groups. The fifth grade D.A.R.E. program goes above the need to "SAY NO" and helps students to locate reasons to reinforce their "no" responses. At the end of the ten week program, the students participate in a special Graduation Program, a fun night out and they receive positive recognition for their hard work.
The second phase of our D.A.R.E. program is delivered to the seventh graders in their classroom setting. The focus of the seventh grade program is to provide students with additional reinforcements that they learned in the fifth grade program. The program also delivers new content that is geared towards their active participation. Students actively participate in the prevention education program through role-playing, small group projects, and other active learning techniques. At the end of the seventh grade program the students are involved in a mock courtroom demonstration in which they get to learn to make responsible decisions. Students who successfully complete the seventh grade D.A.R.E. program are recognized with a Certificate of Achievement.
For more information concerning the Ottawa Police Department D.A.R.E. program, contact Officer Brenden Donahue at 815-433-2131.