Annual golf outing raises money for D.A.R.E. Program
Carlie Wilson | Staff Writer
The D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Program has existed since the year 1983 and has been taught in the Crawford AuSable School District since 1988. The D.A.R.E program is first taught to students in fifth grade and again in seventh grade. Over 4,000 students have taken part in the program since its introduction.
The first students to graduate from D.A.R.E. in Crawford County are now over 30 years old. Some of the current students are the children of those first D.A.R.E. graduates. The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. Program is funded solely by community donations. In June of each year, the D.A.R.E. Golf Outing is held. Money from this event is the core of funding for D.A.R.E. materials.
This year’s golf outing took place on June 15 and had 22 teams competing. According to Sheriff Kirk Wakefield, “the outing raises anywhere from $5,000 to $6,000.”
For current D.A.R.E Officer John Klepadlo, D.A.R.E is more than just a class on teaching kids about the effects of drugs and alcohol.
“The class is about teaching kids to make safe and responsible choices,” Klepadlo said.
Aside from instructing students about the dangers of peer-pressure, under-age drinking, the use of drugs, and what to do if a person witnesses bullying, Klepadlo goes out of his way to interact with his students. Klepadlo spends the majority of his time at Grayling Elementary School. Klepadlo often joins his students for lunch and recess. His mission is to interact one-on-one with each of his students.
“Building a relationship is important for both myself and for them,” Klepadlo said. “I’m trying to help them learn not to fear the police.”
The goal of interacting with students is to encourage a friendly relationship between the kids and the police.
“I want them to feel like they can come to me (or any officer) and know they can talk to us. We do not want to have their first reaction be to run away. My job is really unique because I make a point to go and sit one-on-one with each and every one of my students. I want them to have that positive interaction with me, as more than just a teacher standpoint. I am blessed to have a job that is both kid friendly and kid involved,” Klepadlo said.