Pasadena Police Department looking for drug education program sponsors
When officers from the Pasadena Police Department’s Community Services division are in schools teaching local students about how to stay drug-free through the D.A.R.E., or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, program, they aren’t out on the streets or chasing down criminals. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t saving lives.
The proof is in the stacks of letters, thank-you cards and essays that routinely come in after students finish the 10-week D.A.R.E. program.
“My mom wasn’t a mom I wanted her to be. She did some bad things…I actually saw her sell my stuff and our furniture to get money for drugs,” one student wrote after completing the program. “I would have probably got caught in it too. Now I know how bad drugs are and I would have never known if it weren’t for you. Now nothing is going to push me into doing drugs. I just wish my mom had a DARE cop like you so she could understand.”
The Pasadena Police Department has been involved in the program for more than 20 years. Each year, officers spend hours teaching every fifth grader in city of Pasadena about common drugs and why to steer clear of them. They also discuss how friends and poor decision making can push people into drugs and emphasize the importance of choosing the right types of friends. Before the students graduate from the program, they write essays about the kinds of choices they plan on making for their own future.
In one, a student writes, “I learned how dangerous and deadly tobacco, marijuana and inhalants really are to our bodies and environments.” In another, a student states, “D.A.R.E. has helped me to think twice before I give in to any kind of peer pressure.”
Each year, the police department partners with local businesses who help sponsor area schools to reduce and, if possible, eliminate the cost of the students’ D.A.R.E. t-shirts. But with the current state of the economy, donations have become scarce. As a result, the Pasadena Police Department is looking for new sponsors to keep this program going.
“The t-shirts are an intricate part of the students’ participation in the program; they re-emphasize teamwork and unity towards a common goal,” said Officer Craig Hamilton, a D.A.R.E. officer. “If we can’t raise the funds necessary for these shirts, the students may have to go without them, which would be a detriment to this long-standing program.”
The cost to sponsor one school is approximately $750.00, which purchases shirts for 150 fifth grade students and teachers directly involved with the program. But any and all donations are appreciated.
“I understand that we are all struggling due to the current economical situation,” Hamilton said. “However, any part you can take in helping with our efforts to stop drug abuse and encourage healthy choices among our children is greatly appreciated.”
Each sponsor who donates $500 or more will get their company logo printed on the back of 1000 t-shirts; donors who contribute under $500 will get their company name printed on the back of the shirt.
But as essays that say things like, “I want to be a good role model for my younger siblings,” or “I will never forget you taught us these things,” or “I promise I will not go near or touch any type of drug or alcohol” show, Hamilton said the real benefit comes from knowing you have helped shape the future for kids throughout our community.