October 9, 2009

Good Morning.

I am Ontario Ohio’s newest DARE Ofc. Adam Gongwer.

It is truly a privilege & honor to represent my fellow graduates of DARE Officer Training Class #61.

2 weeks ago, these 18 graduates came in as individuals, each of us with our unique personalities, quirks, and various backgrounds.

Throughout the grueling 2 weeks of long days, late nights, skipped meals, & watching over 30 individual lesson presentations, we slowly lowered our guard & allowed a miraculous event to occur.

We learned about learning.
We talked about talking. And
We cared about caring.

Each of us shared personal stories learning to respect our differences so that we could in turn, teach our youth about standing up for themselves and confidently making wise decisions.

As we gained knowledge about the brain, drugs, alcohol & trends in youth culture, we strengthened our desires to reach out to kids & impart this wisdom.

This increasing excitement culminated in a 45 minute solo presentation to a class of 25 4th or 5th grade students.

Each of us developed a new respect for America’s future leaders, each of us felt the spirit rekindled:
• The spirit of service
• The spirit of compassion
• The spirit that originally motivated us to join law enforcement

Before we came to training 2 weeks ago, we each pondered:
• Is it worth it?
• Is it worth leaving our families for 2 weeks?
• Is it worth sacrificing personal commitments for 12 hour daily classes?

Well, let me ask each of you:

Is it worth it to you to separate an officer or deputy from traditional road patrol for the task of teaching our young ones about “Saying No to Drugs” & “standing up against bullies” with confidence?

Is it worth it to your citizens to have an officer or deputy committed to instructing their children about drugs & alcohol?

The miracle I spoke of earlier was the miracle of friendship, the miracle of family.

We may have sacrificed 2 weeks away from our FIRST family, but we gained a SECOND family. Ask your graduate about the Yarn.

We now also have a deeper commitment to our respective school districts.

In the last lesson of the DARE curriculum, we require each 5th grader to make a pledge against drugs & alcohol.

And as the representative of DARE class #61, I would like to charge each DARE graduate with this pledge:

“I pledge that we will go forth into the classrooms
as the enforcer of laws, but with the heart of a parent.”

In conclusion, I want the mentors to know that all their hard work will not be lost as this new generation of DARE instructors will ensure the integrity of Drug Abuse Resistance Education for many years to come.

Thank you.