Fifth-grader wins DARE essay contest

DARE has made an impact on many lives.

This program teaches you what to do and what not to do in bad situations. DARE has helped me a lot.

Some of the things we learned in DARE were not to smoke or drink alcohol. If you do any of these things, it could instantly kill you if you have too much.

Did you know alcohol is illegal for people under 21? Most teens don’t drink alcohol. Mixing alcohol and medicine is dangerous. Alcohol slows down the brain and the body. Alcohol goes straight into the bloodstream and could immediately hurt you. Too much alcohol can slow down the body and can lead straight into a coma. There have been 75,000 related deaths from drinking in the United States.

Some signs of smoking are yellow teeth and smelly breath. If you’re around someone who is smoking, get away from the situation. It is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18. There are more than 200 known harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke. If you inhale the smoke, that is called secondhand smoke. It could be very dangerous.

You could use the DARE Decision Making Model in these kinds of situations. The D is for define — what are your choices? The A is for assess — what are my choices? The R is for respond — what is your decision? The E is for evaluate — did I make a good decision?

One time, I had a softball tournament. I also had a Colts game to go to. What is my problem? I could either go and help my team or I could go and have a great time at the NFL football game. I chose to go to the football game because I could always play softball, but I can’t always go to an NFL football game.

If you got asked to do something you probably shouldn’t do, what would you do? I would use the five resistance strategies. You could walk away, say no and give an excuse or you could change the subject. This could also be known as peer pressure if someone keeps asking you to do something in your age group. Sometimes, when people pressure you, it could end up being bad or good. For example, if someone asked you to smoke, what is your answer going to be? No!

My body doesn’t deal with stress. How does your body deal with stress? I get hot, sweaty, nervous and sometimes, I even cry. When I have to speak in front of a crowd, I get super stressed out and really nervous. It is good to speak in a confident voice. We learned about ways how to deal with stress in DARE.

Have you ever witnessed bullying or have you ever been bullied? You should report it using the five Ws. What happened? Where did this happen? Why have they been doing this? Report it because it could save you from getting bullied and it could save others from getting bullied.

Tattling and telling are two different things. Telling is information to a trusted adult to help someone or keep them safe. Tattling is when you want to get someone in trouble for a harmless behavior. You should report bullying because it could save you from getting bullied and others.

You could also use the DARE Decision Making Model in these kinds of situations.

I thought DARE was a great program. The stuff we learned in DARE is going to be very useful for when I grow up. Don’t do anything that could hurt you or hurt others. Hopefully, you will enjoy DARE as much as I did.