DARE class graduates

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo Sonya Sabourin, left, Chad Clark, Special Const. Steve Beck, Shanita McArthur, Keyona Tourangeau, and Destiny Smallgeese show off some of the gear they got upon completion of the DARE program last week.

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo
Sonya Sabourin, left, Chad Clark, Special Const. Steve Beck, Shanita McArthur, Keyona Tourangeau, and Destiny Smallgeese show off some of the gear they got upon completion of the DARE program last week.

Students at Chief Sunrise Education Centre will be facing challenges equipped with new swag and a greater understanding of the issues facing them and their community.

“It’s not an easy program, I throw a lot of information at you and some of it is pretty tough to hear,” said Special Const. Steve Beck told a group of students graduating from the D.A.R.E program last week.

“The struggle with drugs and alcohol has already begun for most of you and it’s only going to get worse but it comes down to choices.”

The D.A.R.E program — Drug Abuse Resistance Education — is an initiative implemented by the RCMP to try to combat drug and alcohol abuse in young people before it even begins. For the past few months, a class at Chief Sunrise has been meeting for an hour every week with Beck to go through the program, learning about the adverse effects of drugs and alcohol and what to do when confronted with adults or peers who may be abusing.

Upon completion, the students got a speaker system and sound dock for their classroom, as well as hats and water bottles to take home.

“A lot of the questions you guys asked me really made me think as a police officer and as a person,” Beck said, adding later that there wasn’t a session where he didn’t receive at least 20 or so anonymous questions.

He also said such programs in small communities can be challenging to deliver, as there are always a number of children who have been exposed to family members abusing drugs and alcohol.

If students haven’t seen the effects of substance abuse in their own families, Beck said they surely know someone who has.

“I learned that you could die and that bad choices can affect your body for a long time,” said Sonia Sabourin who went through the program this year. “I can see it around me more now.”

–Sarah Ladik