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Students DARE to be different

By Staff | Apr 21, 2011

Estherville Lincoln Central fifth-graders took a big step in their lives Tuesday when they graduated from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.

If you ever wondered by such a program would be named DARE, just think back to when you were in grade school. Remember someone asking you to take a dare? Maybe to break a window, smoke a cigarette or even steal something?

Well, DARE actually turns the whole expression of “taking a dare on its head”.

Instead of engaging in risky behavior, DARE graduates have pledged to think for themselves rather than be controlled by their peers. Yes, peer pressure can be enormous during those formative years. Kids’ bodies are changing, and with those changes come uncertainties. Every kid – at least for a short time in his or her life – regards himself as “strange” or “weird”. If kids only realized that all other kids are thinking the same thing of themselves, peer pressure wouldn’t be a problem.

But kids have a strong desire to fit in, to be a part of the group. And that’s when using drugs and alcohol and doing other inappropriate things comes in.

DARE reverses that process, though, by helping students create new, healthier peer groups in which kids can thrive, not harm themselves physically and mentally.

DARE kids are reminding themselves that it’s okay to be different – to march to their own drummer and to not follow those who are doing harmful things to themselves.

By making wise decisions at a younger age, DARE kids are setting a course that promises far more success in life and on the job. They’re developing healthier, happier habits that will give them more fulfilling lives.

DARE liaison Nate Dunlavy, officer from the Estherville Police Department, probably said it best Tuesday night when he said the kids he worked with in DARE were a highlight of his job. Instead of chasing bad guys, he’s making good guys and gals.

And that’s quite an accomplishment.