DARE car tricked-out for parade

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Vital Signs owner Mike McIntosh finishes up the graphics for the DARE car which will be in the Nevada Day Parade today.

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Vital Signs owner Mike McIntosh finishes up the graphics for the DARE car which will be in the Nevada Day Parade today.

Students with the DARE program have a tricked-out car that is sure to be a treat in today's Nevada Day Parade.

The 2002 Cavalier Z-24 was donated by Michael Hohl Auto, tires are from Les Schwab, the paint job's by Kustom Kreations, the detailing by Vital Signs and ideas from Fremont, Fritsch and Mark Twain elementary school students.

"It's pretty sharp," said Jay Bates, Michael Hohl general manager, who decided to donate the car for a sheriff's office program.

The Cavalier has been transformed into the DARE, or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, vehicle for the Carson City Sheriff's Office. More than 100 students will walk behind the car, no. 64 in the parade, which starts at 10 a.m. on Carson Street.

"It would just be fun to be in the parade because I've never been in a parade before and I like the DARE Program a lot because it helps me to decide whether to smoke or not," said Fritsch Elementary School student Justin Stevens, 10. "Because my choice is no."

The DARE program returns, new and improved, to Carson City this year after a four-year hiatus. The revamped curriculum allows for more student role-playing and less lecturing.

"The kids love it," said Mary Wolkomir, juvenile substance abuse coordinator for the sheriff's office. "I mean we are seeing a lot of kids embrace the curriculum. And they have fun with it. So do we."

Take, for example, a project that involved students acting as advertising executives and picking apart glossy, colorful magazine advertisements promoting cigarettes.

"It was pretty fun and you got to look at what the cigarette ads look like and how they're trying to get you smoke and that kind of stuff," Justin said. "But you should always read down in the corner of the ad because it tells you there is no safe cigarette. There's a surgeon general warning there."

The 10-week DARE curriculum, which began in the latter part of September for fifth-grade classes at three of the district's elementary schools, focuses on three major drugs: Alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. Other elementary schools will be visited by DARE in Spring 2005.

"We believe here at the sheriff's office that prevention is the key rather than intervention," Wolkomir said. "Like most people, we believe you have to get to the kids early."

When DARE students complete the program, they will have a DARE graduation. But seeing how their ideas for detailing the DARE car turned out might be the best thing yet. Justin will see the Cavalier today for the first time.

"I think it's going to be pretty good," he said. "It has spinner-rims. It has DARE on it."

Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at mo'neill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.


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