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D.A.R.E. program needs funds

An RCMP program that teaches students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol is being threatened by a lack of funding.

Gary Cleave, the development officer with the D.A.R.E. BC Society, wrote a letter to city council asking for some help to keep the program accessible for all students.

“D.A.R.E. BC is appealing to Campbell River city council to make a commitment to cover the anticipated shortfall in funding,” Cleave wrote. “Without such a commitment some students may not receive a full set of learning materials. A number of other municipalities in B.C. provide annual grants to support the D.A.R.E program in their community. We are requesting that Campbell River does the same.”

The D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program is offered to Campbell River students in Grades 5 and 6 each year by local RCMP officers to encourage them to avoid the use of drugs and alcohol.

The program is offered at no cost to schools and the cost of the students’ learning materials is covered by funds raised within Campbell River.

However, Cleave said the program has been struggling with financial shortfalls for the last two years.

“During the last two school years, insufficient funds were raised to cover the full cost of the materials for your students,” Cleave wrote.

Last year, D.A.R.E. BC appealed to service clubs and Parent Advisory Councils for financial aid and $1,300 was raised.

The only problem was that still wasn’t enough to fund the cost of learning materials for the 535 students who took part in the program last year. That left D.A.R.E. with a $4,050 shortfall which was covered by the society’s reserve fund.

That fund is now depleted which leaves D.A.R.E. in a tough spot, Cleave noted.

“We will continue our best efforts to raise sufficient funds within Campbell River to cover the full cost of delivering the program,” Cleave wrote. “However, it is unlikely we will be able to raise sufficient funds to cover the full cost of the program from community groups alone.”

City council, at its Dec. 17 meeting, received Cleave’s letter but held off on making a decision regarding any funding. Coun. Larry Samson said the city’s public safety sub-committee is trying to get in touch with local RCMP to determine “how much they are short.”

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