The Soldotna Rotary Club continues to support the local D.A.R.E program. Ofc. Tobin Brennan is the D.A.R.E. instructor in the three local elementary schools. Yearly, Ofc. Brennan provides D.A.R.E education to 5th graders and then provided a lock-in/graduation event. This year, Soldotna Rotary Club was able to provide the grand prize to the winning essay writer on why D.A.R.E is an important program and why it is important to them. D.A.R.E. is an important program in the community.
 
The Soldotna Rotary Club continues to support the local D.A.R.E program. Ofc. Tobin Brennan is the D.A.R.E. instructor in the three local elementary schools. Yearly, Ofc. Brennan provides D.A.R.E education to 5th graders and then provided a lock-in/graduation event. This year, Soldotna Rotary Club was able to provide the grand prize to the winning essay writer on why D.A.R.E is an important program and why it is important to them. D.A.R.E. is an important program in the community. The following information illustrates why support of this program makes Soldotna Rotary the vibrant Club that it is.
The McDowell Group conducted a study in 2005 on the impact of drug and alcohol abuse on Alaska’s economy and found that Alaskans spend approximately 613 million dollars. This cost includes law enforcement, emergency services, hospital services, correctional facilities, treatment services, and other associated costs. They updated the study in 2012 and that these costs have increased to 1.2 Billion Dollars. The National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health estimates that 9.5% of Alaska’s population age 12 and older were dependent on or abusing drugs or alcohol in 2010. The greatest contributing factor to violent crimes which includes, domestic violence and sexual assault is alcohol and drug abuse. D.A.R.E. began in Los Angeles in 1983 and was a response to the growing problems associated with alcohol and drug abuse. Today the program is taught in approximately 75% of all US school districts and in 43 countries. The D.A.R.E. curriculum is taught in schools by Law Enforcement Officers to students and offers curriculum from kindergarten to 12th grade. D.A.R.E. is an early intervention program that focuses on teaching kids decision making skills.
D.A.R.E. has been taught in Alaska for a very long time. D.A.R.E. was first introduced in Alaskan schools in 1988. The program has continued to grow over the years, with the most significant growth in rural Alaska.In Alaska today, VPSO D.A.R.E. Officers are responsible for teaching nearly one quarter of all the Alaska Students involved in the D.A.R.E. program. These students live in an area of the state most impacted by substance abuse. Delivering the D.A.R.E. program ensures that children are learning critical decision making skills that will last them a life time. Over the last 10 years, the number of communities that have a D.A.R.E. program has increased and the D.A.R.E. program is taught in over 30% of Alaska’s School Districts. Tracking pre/post testing results from D.A.R.E. students across Alaska over the last 4 years of has shown an average of a 21% increase in knowledge is reported. The Alaska D.A.R.E. Training Center has been teaching Police Officers across Alaska to present the D.A.R.E. curriculum in their communities since 2001 and has been working closely with the Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) Program since its inception. Over the years, there have been many success stories from both urban and rural departments that show improved decision making on the part of youth and enhanced relationships between officers, the youth and their community. Many Officers have successfully received their certification as D.A.R.E. Officers and gone on to teach the children in their communities (D.A.R.E FAQ).
For more information about the program, please go to: http://darealaska.com/