A-W DARE students receive diplomas

by Julie Ann Madden

The Akron Hometowner of Akron, Iowa

"This is not the end of this program," said Sgt. Lynn Steckel-berg of the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office as he congratulated Akron-Westfield fifth graders on their completion of the 10-week Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Program.

"It may be the end of the program as far as the school and our department is concerned where these students stand," he said, addressing students' parents. "But, it's kind of your job now to continue on teaching them what you can teach them about not only drugs but how to live a good, clean life."

"You have to do that by obviously setting a good example," he explained, "and continually talking to them. If you can't talk to them two minutes out of their life span, expect it's not going to work."

"Statistics say a minimum of 10 minutes every year with every one of your children will make a huge difference," said Steckelberg. "Hopefully, we have more than 10 minutes to spend with each of our children on the topic of drugs."

He noted the DARE Program teaches children not only about drugs such as marijuana, meth-amphetamines and cocaine but tobacco products and alcoholic beverages.

"They aren't old enough to have any of those things," said Steckelberg. "So, try to teach them to stay away from it. If we can teach them to stay away from tobacco and alcohol, we probably pretty much have got the whole problem whipped where the other drugs are concerned."

"It's no easy task," he said. "It's not easy being a parent."

"Your child has enough friends," said Steckelberg. "Your child needs a parent. I think that's a big problem because we want to be friends to our kids. You'd be surprised by how many kids are begging for a parent to step in their lives and tell them no. They may not act that way but that's what they are looking for."

"Believe me if you can steer them away from law enforcement and some of the things we have to deal with - the negative things we have to deal with," he said, "it will benefit us in the end." "You stop and think about what drugs have done to our society today," said Steckelberg. "Our country is broke, and yet we have to continually come up with money for drug problems, to get people off drugs, to educate them about drugs."

So, please, step up to the plate," said Steckelberg. "Do your part. Talk to your kids. That's what you have to do."

Steckelberg thanked Akron-Westfield fifth grade teachers LeAnn Tindall and Susan Brown and Akron police officers Kimm Nielsen and Jared Gares.

The students received a DARE certificate of completion and T-shirt.

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