Elizabethtown Police offers anti-drug D.A.R.E. program for homeschooled kids
Elizabethtown Police hope to reach a new class of kids with one of the country's most well known anti-drug programs.
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Elizabethtown Police hope to reach a new class of kids with one of the country's most well known anti-drug programs.
They're taking D.A.R.E. into the home.
Parents like Tesia Rivera teach everything from eighth grade math to Kindergarten science, and she does it all out of her home.
"This used to be our dining room, and we've turned it into our classroom," Rivera said.
With four kids between the ages of 5 and 13, the homeschooling mom says she's learned a valuable lesson when it comes to teaching her kids to stay off drugs.
"It's also good for them to hear it from somebody other than me," she said.
That's why Rivera was among the first to sign her kids up for the new homeschool D.A.R.E. program offered by the Elizabethtown Police Department.
"I don't have to tell you the drug epidemic is not going anywhere, and it seems to be getting worse," said John Thomas, spokesperson for the Elizabethtown Police Department. "We're starting to realize prevention is far more effective than reacting to a problem that already exists."
The state reports that more than 1,400 people in Kentucky died of a drug overdose in 2016, drive mostly by the heroin epidemic.
D.A.R.E is one of the oldest and perhaps most-recognized anti-drug initiatives in the United States. Traditionally, it is taught to public school students in the fifth grade.
"I actually did the D.A.R.E. program as well in Arizona, and I remember how fantastic it was," Rivera said.
It may not be the program you remember. The curriculum has expanded to include violence and bullying prevention, communication skills and decision making.
"If we reach only one student and prevent them from ruining their lives -- or the lives of others -- with drugs and addiction, then it's well worth it to us," Thomas said.
Police are not going door to door offering D.A.R.E. to homeschooled kids. Instead, it will be offered once-a-week for 10 weeks on Monday at the police department from 4:15-5:15 p.m.
The first class starts Jan. 22.
Rivera's oldest daughter may be the most excited. The family started homeschooling due to her medical needs.
"I had heard from my friends -- because I had kept in contact with them -- that the D.A.R.E. program was so cool," Tasia Rivera said.
Elizabethtown's program is open to children of ages 10 to 12.
"The response so far has been overwhelming," Thomas said. "We're hoping this is not a one-time thing -- that we can offer this to homeschooled students on an annual basis."
To the Riveras, that's a good thing. Only three of the four kids are old enough to participate.
Tesia Rivera said she wouldn't "D.A.R.E." leave out the littlest one.
Anyone interested in signing up for the homeschool D.A.R.E. program should reach out to John Thomas as email@example.com.
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