Johnson retires from D.A.R.E program
After 16 years of dedicated service, Kevin Johnson has retired from being an instructor for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) program.
Johnson has worked for the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office for almost 20 years and started as a D.A.R.E instructor in 1998. He said the program was introduced to Churchill County more than 25 years ago and has been successful.
“The cooperation between the (school) district and sheriffs office has been great,” Johnson said. “The district is extremely supportive and so are the teachers that allow us to come into the classroom. The parents also seem to receive the program well too.”
Johnson said the program runs in grades 5-7, and students must get permission from their parents to participate. He said the program last five weeks and consists of 10 lessons that are taught twice a week.
According to D.A.R.E., the program is designed to educate children at an age when they are most receptive to drug prevention education and before they are likely to have experimented with tobacco, alcohol and drugs. D.A.R.E. seeks to prevent adolescent substance abuse, thus reducing the demand for drugs. The D.A.R.E. curriculum focuses on the following objectives for student learning: Provides the skills of recognizing and resisting social pressures to experiment with tobacco, alcohol and drugs; helps enhance self esteem; teaches positive alternatives to substance abuse and other destructive behaviors (particularly gangs and violence); Develops skills in risk-assessment, decision making and conflict resolution; and builds interpersonal and communication skills.
Johnson said becoming an instructor for the program is voluntary. He said training is required to be a D.A.R.E instructor.
“There is a two-week training course that we have to take the helps us develop our skills and knowledge,” Johnson said. “The training helps with public speaking, building lesson plans and gives us hands on practice teaching in front of students.”
Johnson said he’s taught hundreds of students over the years and to this day he has parents and students saying what an impact the class had in their child’s life or their lives.
“I have adults come up to me and tell me they still have the certificates and T-shirts from the class they took,” Johnson said. “Some of those adults I’ve run into have told me that because of the program they decided not to drink alcohol and haven’t.”
Johnson said he’s going to miss being a D.A.R.E. instructor.
“It’s just the right time to retire,” Johnson said. “We had another person who was interested and could take over to instruct … after 16 years it was just time to step down and give someone else the chance to be an instructor.”
Johnson was born into the military life and traveled when he was a child. He joined the Navy and served for six years as a sonar technician. He was also police officer in New Mexico before joining the Navy. Johnson said while he was visiting his sister in Fallon, who was in the Navy, he decided to stay and was hired by the CCSO in 1994 as a deputy sheriff. Johnson has three children and five grandsons who live in New Mexico.