By Craig Westcott|The Shoreline - January 16, 2019 Edition (Vol. 32 No. 44)
Members of Conception Bay South town council voted unanimously Tuesday to fund a program that helps children resist peer pressure to use drugs.
Council agreed to donate $2,500 this year and the same amount next year to the Northeast Avalon D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, which is taught to Grade six students in the town’s five elementary schools by a member of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.
RNC Inspector Alex Brennan, along with the force’s new community services officer for CBS, Const. Tanya Schwartz, and Janet Rumsey of the Northeast Avalon D.A.R.E. committee were on hand for the vote.
Schwartz teaches the program to some 15 classes of students in CBS schools, about 325 children altogether.
“They’re all getting the same program, really focusing on making good choices and decisions around drugs, but not only drugs, (also) in life, making good choices in life,” Schwartz said.
The constable added the group feels really honoured that the Town is supporting the program and promised to put the money to good use. The funds will buy books for the program, as well as t-shirts for students to wear at their D.A.R.E. graduation ceremonies along with the certificates they sign pledging to avoid drugs.
“When you think about it, $12 as a lifetime investment (per child) in the future of our young people in CBS is well worth it,” Schwartz said.
Inspector Brennan said Schwartz is going to have a great effect on the children who take the course. “Sometimes you don’t know how much of an influence you can have on a young person’s life,” said Brennan. “So thank you for supporting this wonderful initiative. Your community will reap the rewards of it for many years to come.”
Deputy Mayor Richard Murphy, who chaired the council meeting in Mayor Terry French’s absence, noted he happened to attend a Grade six D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony for the first time recently and was blown away by the amount of information the children receive.
The program teaches children ways to resist peer pressure and lead drug free and violence free lives.
In a prepared statement, Mayor French also offered his support for the donation. “It’s important for us to contribute towards teaching our youth the skills they need to avoid involvement in drugs, violence, and other harmful activities,” said French. “Giving our students the confidence they need to say no, teaching them good decision-making skills, and educating them about high-risk activities will help them live healthier, safer lives. It will create a better community for all… We have nine schools in our town with thousands of students. As a growing community that is focused on becoming the community of choice for families in this province, the safety of our youth is paramount. We are happy to contribute to such a beneficial and highly acclaimed program.”