Frthom's Blog

Kaitlyn O’Brien’s Award-Winning Speech About Saying “No”

Posted in Kaitlyn O'Brien by frthom on May 14, 2017

By Kaitlyn O’Brien

May Kate-2502017

Did you know that 200,00 people die each year from smoking?  This year in D.A.R.E. (which stands for “Drug Abuse Resistance Education”) I have learned so much, and I pledge to stay away from smoking and alcohol.  I also pledge to use from I learned in D.A.R.E. this year to make good decisions throughout my life and to stand up to bullying confidently.

D.A.R.E. this year has been so much fun, but the thing I love most about D.A.R.E. is that, even while having tons of fun, we are still learning so much.  The most interesting thing I learned this year is that 50,000 people die each year from second-hand smoke.  This means that people often die just for being around other people who smoke.  A person could have never smoked a cigarette in his or her life.  This really surprised me and opened my eyes to the fact that smoking affects more than just the people who smoke.  This is something that I never would have thought before, and it made me very sad and sympathetic to know that people could have never smoked in their lives have to suffer as much as those who do smoke.

(DARE)-200

Another thing I learned in D.A.R.E. this year is how to avoid a bad situation.  The strategy of avoiding a bad situation is to stay away from something or someone bad or unsafe. An example of avoiding the situation is if you got invited to a party where you know there is going to be smoking, drugs, or anything of that sort.  Instead of going, you spend the night at home. This is a very helpful strategy for staying away from tempting situations.

The very last important thing I learned in D.A.R.E. this year is how to say “no.”  Officer Mark—the adviser for our D.A.R.E. program—showed us tons of different strategies to resist and say no when someone offers you something you know you should not take.  My favorite strategy is to change the subject.  An example of this is when a friend asks you a cigarette at a park, a way of changing the subject would be to say, “No let’s go play soccer instead.” This strategy is important because it gets the focus off of the bad thing and on to a new and better topic.

After learning about the D.A.R.E. decision making model in D.A.R.E. class this year, I often use it in everyday situations.  Whether it’s making the right choice, or being nice to my brother, or even standing up for those who are being bullied, the D.A.R.E. decision making model is a plan of steps made for making decisions.

The first step of the D.A.R.E. decision making model is define.  This means to describe the problem, challenge, or opportunity.  The second step of the model is assess. This is when you think about your choices and the consequences of each choice.  The third step is respond.  This step means to make a choice using the facts and information you have gathered. The final step is the D.A.R.E. decision making is evaluate.  This step means to review your decision and make sure you made a good choice. This step is my favorite because just in case you made a bad decision you can always go back and fix it—no harm done.

After doing D.A.R.E. for so many weeks now, I’ve learned so much about how to make safe and responsible choices.  One thing I’ve learned is strength in numbers.  This strategy means to hang out with people who are non-users.  This strategy is very helpful for staying away from alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes.  Another strategy I learned in D.A.R.E. this year was about styles of communication.  We learned two bad ways to communicate and one effective way.  The two bad ways to communicate that we learned were 1) unsure/shy and 2) aggressive.  The effective, the good way we learned to communicate was with confidence.  We learned that when saying “no” or resisting something, confidence is the best way to communicate.

D.A.R.E. this year was a life –changing experience for me and I feel so lucky to have been a part of such an amazing program.  I truly learned so much about how to stay away from drinking, drugs, and smoking.  Thank you Officer Mark for teaching me so much this year and always making me and all the students laugh! I can’t wait for seventh grade D.A.R.E.

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