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DARE Graduation
Thursday, 17 December 2009

December 18--  For 17 years, elementary school students in Vidalia and Toombs County have been involved in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) courses.

Sergeant Bobby Ray Smith of the Toombs County Sheriff's Office has been with the program all that time.  First with the Vidalia Police Department and, since 2000, with the Sheriff's Office.  He measures the effectiveness of the program one child at a time.

"If I've got one off the street and not doing drugs, that's a victory.  It makes me feel good to look at these high school students and these small children and say 'It's working,'" he says.

Fifth-graders from Lyons Upper Elementary, Toombs Central and Robert Toombs Christian Academy graduated earlier this month in ceremonies at Southeastern Tech.  A senior at Toombs County High Schoo, Jessica King, helps Sergeant Smith as a DARE role model.

"I tell all my kids that if you do drugs, drugs will become your life, and if drugs become your life, you'll have no life," she says.

With kids now being exposed to drugs earlier and earlier in their lives, Sergeant Smith believes education is the best prevention.

"This is our future that we see here now. Doctors and lawyers in this group, CEO's of companies, who knows, the next President might be in this group. These kids are taking a stand.  Their parents that I see in and about the community say my child has told me what you are talking about and it's a good thing. Those kinds of things I see are helping us here, so it's been great," he notes. 

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