Alpena to celebrate National DARE Day

ALPENA — A presidential proclamation will be made tomorrow to recognize National DARE Day and to acknowledge the efforts in educating youth to resist drugs and violence. DARE stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education and throughout the years, the Alpena DARE program has grown and become a big part of the local elementary schools.

Deputy Jim Marquardt and Officer Tim Marquardt are the only active father and son DARE officer duo in the country and have been visiting the fifth grade classes at the Alpena elementary schools, All Saints Catholic School, and Immanuel Lutheran School throughout the school year.

The fifth-graders have been working on an 11-week curriculum with a DARE graduation taking place at the end of the 11 weeks. Jim visits Wilson, Sanborn, Hinks, and All Saints while Tim visits Besser, Ella White, Lincoln, and Immanuel Lutheran.

Tim said teachers always have had positive comments to say about the Alpena DARE Program.

“I have heard nothing but high praise from teachers,” he said. “I have a working relationship with the teachers so they are very positive about it. The class is always interactive and I always ask the teachers to chime in, which is always a neat experience.”

On Thursday, Alpena High School seniors will be going with the Marquardts to the elementary schools and talking to the students. Tim said the fifth-graders have been told to have questions prepared to ask the high school students.

“It prompts them to think of what to ask them because in a few years, they’ll be that age,” he said. “They also get to see and hear their perspective and they all have a good time with it.”

The seniors have made signs around the high school to inform students about National DARE Day. Tim said the seniors are going to be prepared for the kids. He said the fifth-graders are always receptive when the seniors talk to them.

The DARE program originally started in Los Angeles in 1983 and Tim said Jim started the program in Alpena in 1989 and it’s been growing ever since.

“It’s a celebratory thing and I believe in it,” Tim said.

DARE officers around the country work to provide youth with tools necessary to make healthy life choices and abstain from drug abuse and violent behaviors.

People can celebrate National DARE Day Thursday by wearing a DARE shirt or a combination of red, black, and white, the official DARE colors.

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.


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