LAPD Cpl. Samantha Terrazas presents Natalie Pacheco with a certificate for completing the DARE program.
LAPS PRESS RELEASE
Sixty-one sixth graders at Barranca Mesa Elementary School graduated from the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Program last week. LAPD Sgt. Chris Ross and Cpl. Samantha Terrazas guided students through the 10-session course.
“This is a prevention partnership between LAPD and LAPS,” explained Alyssa Romero, Barranca School Counselor. “When Sgt. Ross mentioned a decision-making model of the DARE Program that LAPD was implementing, I thought it would be a great opportunity for the Barranca 6th graders to participate in and requested approval from Barranca administration to bring this program to the school to help prepare our 6th graders for middle school.”
The program uses an effective multicultural curriculum that is developmentally appropriate and is based on the Social Emotional Learning approach. This curriculum teaches the foundational skills that young people need to be safe, healthy, and responsible throughout their lives.
The DARE Program helps guide students in the decision-making process by looking at risky situations, weighing out pros and cons, making a decision based on the pros and cons, and evaluating the decision that they made: Was it a good decision? What could they do better in the future?
The program was funded through a DWI Prevention Grant through Los Alamos County.
There are plans to expand the program to the other elementary schools in the district. Students at Pinon Elementary completed the program last year. According to Sgt. Ross, the expansion of the program is definitely desired and the goal is to eventually bring the DARE program to all elementary schools. Currently there is a limit in how many schools they can cover due to the number of officers trained in the program. There are currently two officers trained in the program, and LAPD is working on training more.
“DARE is a great program to get officers into the schools to build relationships and gives kids another way to connect with our School Resource Officers,” said Ms. Romero. “Our officers are trying to be a positive influence to our students by encouraging thoughtful decision making when it comes to risky situations that may occur in their lives.”
For more information about the DARE program, go to www.dare.org.