By Alyssa Gibson
Youth Advocacy Board Member for D.A.R.E. (Maryland Representative) Texas Trip
From July 8th to July 13th, 2017, I had the great opportunity of traveling to Grapevine, Texas to attend the 30th Annual D.A.R.E. International Conference. As the Youth Advocacy Board Member of Maryland, it is my duty to help the community be drug free. During this conference, I had the pleasure of meeting the Attorney General of the United States of America, Jeff Sessions, as well as help my fellow YAB’s present awards to D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year, etc. It was stunning to be able to see D.A.R.E. Officers come together and show how much they really are trying to help the youth succeed in life rather than doing drugs. DFC Andre Mitchell and DFC Mark Robshaw also attended the conference with me, and were able to gain valuable information in regards to new High School Curriculums pertaining to D.A.R.E. It’s great to be able to have such great mentors like these Calvert County Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. Officers to help guide me as the Maryland Representative.
In Texas, we had the pleasure of introducing speakers, setting up the flags, rehearsing a countless number of times to be sure that the conference turned out as planned. Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave a speech about how important the education of D.A.R.E. is, and how we shouldn’t push it to the side. Drug use is a major problem within the United States, and those rates need to go away.
Back to the beginning, if you don’t know what D.A.R.E. stands for, it means Drug Abuse Resistance Education. This program is about helping to prevent drug use, violent behavior, belonging to a gang, etc. We (the YAB’s) have been assigned with a quite difficult task. By October, we have to find a way to help our communities or entire state enforce the D.A.R.E. Curriculum. The more kids who are educated with this program, will hopefully lead to less/no kids actually using drugs in the future. It’s so important to educate them because they rely on adults and older youth to teach them and show them the right path to take in life.
As a YAB, I thrive to help my community stay drug free, and as an EMT in the county, it is horrifying and heartbreaking to see the number of citizens become affected by drug and alcohol use/abuse. I’ve been a YAB since last June, and had the opportunity of going to Hawaii in March to attend workshops to learn how to advocate for the youth being drug free, and about how to get the message across effectively.
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Alyssa Gibson / Special to Calvert Beacon