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SMW_2503Stafford County DARE Day began 10 years ago as a grassroots community effort to mark the importance of making the commitment to stay drug and violence free.  You can check out tons of great photos of the event by Sandie Waters Photography HERE.

Grace Hynden, a teacher at Grafton Village Elementary School, Rebecca Childress, the Prevention Education Specialist at Quantico Family Advocacy, and Christine Hammond, a Deputy Sheriff in Stafford, were the pioneers who brainstormed, planned, and executed a day of fun and learning for every graduating DARE student in the county.

The idea was to show students the abundance of activities in our community they could become involved in to stay focused and drug-free (referred to in the DARE curriculum as "alternative activities") and career opportunites in the military, law enforcement and other exciting jobs that serve communities.

It's a day of celebration they will remember for years to come along with the message - stay drug free, make good choices, and go for your dreams!

SMW_2589The 10th Anniversary drew attention with representatives in attendance from the Governor's Office (Ken Cucinelli), the Virginia DARE Association, and many local school and government officials. Jeff Rouse, a hometown hero and Olympic gold medalist, who was on hand for the very first DARE Day, returned to remind students to surround themselves with positive, drug free friends and shoot for their dreams.

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Pouches' Community Corner

This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

keepsake box

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.