While budget cuts across the state have forced many school districts to drop the DARE (Drugs Alcohol Resistance Education) program within their educational systems, students in Aurelia and Alta will be able to enjoy the program for at least one more year thanks to a large fundraising effort from local veterans and DARE students.
Students went out into the communities to sell tickets for an Oct. 14 pancake breakfast sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary and Veterans of Foreign Wars 6172 in Alta, and the pupils and sponsors recently learned the event raised $2,200 for the Alta-Aurelia DARE program.
The money will allow the program, which serves both the Alta and Aurelia school districts, to continue past this school year, and Marie Michelson, a member of the Ladies Auxiliary, said she was very excited about the amount of money the students raised.
"We're extremely proud of how much money the kids were able to raise," Michelson said. "It's quite an accomplishment to raise the amount of money the kids raised, and we're excited that the DARE program is going to be able to continue in the Alta and Aurelia school districts."
Founded in Los Angeles in 1983, DARE is a program in which police officers lead a series of classroom lesson that teach children how to resist peer pressure and lead productive drug and violence-free lives.
The anti-drug program, which has a series of different programs designed for students from kindergarten to 12th grade, will reach 36 million pupils in 52 countries this year, including 26 million in public and private educational systems across the United States.
The $2,200 for the Alta-Aurelia program will be used for a variety of DARE activities and objects, including DARE workbooks, DARE t-shirts and certificates of graduation for students completing the program.
The students and their parents were formally honored for their fundraising efforts at a dinner Dec. 19 with Alta Police Chief Tom Messerole and Aurelia Police Chief Gene Suhr, and received Certificates of Excellence from the Ladies Auxiliary and DARE duffle bags from the two Chiefs of Police.
The top student sellers from Alta were Chris Peterson (son of Rick and Paula), Chara Miller (daughter of Gene and Melanie), Scott Robbins (son of Scott and Anna-Mae) and Chelsey Petersen (daughter of Kalvin and Sharon).
The top student sellers from Aurelia were Aaron Bruce (son of Darrin and Angie), Emily Rohlk (daughter of Steve and Sheila), Jordan Glawe (son of Curtis and Lori) and Ashley Lewis (daughter of Cordill and Caralyn).
Michelson said citizens of the two towns should also be recognized for their generosity in respect to the entire fundraising project.
"The participation of the communities in this effort was fantastic with their contributions of food for the breakfast and dollars for the fundraising," Michelson said. "Everybody who worked behind the scenes really made this a success."