The Wellington Police Department D.A.R.E. program is coordinated by Officer Yunker. Officer Yunker teaches D.A.R.E. for all Elementary Schools in USD 353, The D.A.R.E. program had several changes in the spring of 2006. Some of those were:
- Pilot program introduced at Washington School for first grade
- A four-school graduation at the Wellington High School
- An Essay Winner per school with a Grand Essay Winner announced at Graduation
- An Honor Guard of D.A.R.E. students that start the D.A.R.E. Graduation
- A Slide show of D.A.R.E. classes and students
- Mascot Daren the Lion
The biggest change was the addition of Daren the Lion. Daren goes with Officer Yunker to all of his classes, D.A.R.E. meetings and school functions. These include school programs, track meets and class graduations. Daren is the mascot of D.A.R.E.
The first is strength. The strength that our students need to say no to harmful situations. We teach our children they will need strength to tell their friends no when tempted by drugs or illegal behavior. Our students learn you need strength of heart, strength of a lion, for no one will tempt a lion.
The second characteristic is courage. The courage to do the right thing. The courage to avoid harmful situations or friends that steer them in the wrong direction. Courage means to do the right thing because its the right thing to do, not because it's will be easy.
Finally we teach our students pride. We teach them the pride they can feel in themselves, their family, their school and their community. Pride can make them strong, respectful, and a good student. Pride is not taught, it is learned. Pride is learned from our history and diversity. Pride is the strength of our convictions and the courage of our beliefs.