Tuesday, June 24, 2008

All for a good cause

Back on June 6, I received this email:

Chief Casady,

I was approached by a woman yesterday outside of Walgreens who informed me that the DARE program in Lincoln has been removed from the schools because of budget cutbacks. She was selling DARE merchandise to help keep the program going. I was wondering if this has actually happened (or if it was a con) and if so, if there is something that can be done to reinstate the program. I know there are probably a few good officers who would donate their time and if this were made known to the public many citizens would also help out. Thank you for your time.
I replied, letting her know that in Lincoln, DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) ended eight years ago, in 2000--primarily due to the fact that we had exhausted our supply of potential instructors over the preceding 11 years, and the fact that the research evidence on the program's effectiveness was not very encouraging.

On Friday, I received a phone call in my office from a man who was at the local Sam's Club. He was on his cell phone outside the store, and told me that there was a solicitor there with a table set up selling DARE merchandise. He said he had quizzed this person about how much of the proceeds go to DARE, and that the solicitor dodged the question until he continued pressing--ultimately telling him that it was about 5%. He was somewhat incensed that the name of DARE was being used to raise money which was essentially lining the promoter's pocket.

He had obtained the office phone number from the solicitor and called that before calling me. He said that the phone was answered with something like JM Promotions, and that the person who answered the phone refused to tell him where the office was. He had the number, and I determined that the phone number was indeed to a local business called Momentum Marketing.

If you want to buy this company's wares, and are satisfied that around 5% of the proceeds are going to DARE America (assuming that's true), then have at it. But if anybody thinks their purchase is helping kids in Lincoln or Lancaster County, or supporting DARE locally, it's not. This is a common ploy to use the name of something that sounds like a good cause to make money. Reminds me of another ethically-challenged fundraiser.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Study shows that DARE is not and has not worked. See
http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/Library/daremenu.htm

Just another "feel good" way to spend tax dollars. It would be better spent to hire more BLUE shirts to stand around the Hall of Justice bldg or sit and read books. (this one will not get posted because of kiss ups?)

Tom Casady said...

6:25-

You're point?

Anonymous said...

The Pirate DARE program.

Anonymous said...

point is there are programs that the government/social services think are so good, but they're utterly ineffective, yet we fund those.

P.O. said...

It's too bad that studies don't show the positive effects that DARE Officers have had on individual children throughout the years. I was a DARE Instructor in the past (not at LPD) and I can honestly say that the most positive impact I had on my community was through DARE, not through any particular investigation or arrest.

Anonymous said...

Fund Raisers are always a "Contributer Beware" event.

That aside, I noted with some interest your link to a previous blog you published concerning your very public stance on bar crawls as a fund raising mechanism.

Last week, the Young Women's Christian Association (considering some of the programs and political causes they advocate, isn't a name change in order?) advertised a Martini Night for fund raising purposes.
I did not see a similar public "shame on you" by the Lincoln Police Chief.
Hmmmmmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we could have this guy talk to the kids about life. The world would be a better place.

Jim said...

Would that activity outside Sam's Club require the appropriate "Peddler's License" from the city?

Tom Casady said...

10:01-

Did you miss the part that we stopped the DARE program in Lincoln in 2000, in part due to the poor evidence of effectiveness in the research literature?

Tom Casady said...

10:16-

I'm somewhat surprised the YWCA would have a martini night fundraiser, but that's entirely different than a bar crawl in which some of the participants would almost inevitably be served to a state of intoxication by a licensee--something that is illegal.

I don't care who serves booze at their philanthropic events and it's none of my business--I do care about liquor license holders violating the law, and that is my business. If someone wants to have a bar crawl that doesn't involve five people drinking 10 pitchers of beer in 3 hours in licensed establishments, I'm not involved.

As a citizen, I also care about organizations and individuals who delude people into thinking they are contributing to a charity, when in fact they are contributing to a for-profit company or just an individual who is willing to take advantage of their generosity.

Tom Casady said...

jim-

No, not a peddler. The definition in Municipal Code 5.36.020 specifies "...house to house, residence to residence, dwelling to dwelling...."

Anonymous said...

10:01....

That's me.

Yes I did see it was stopped in 2000. There are yet other programs being funded that have pretty much the effectiviness yet are being funded, that was the point I'm making. Sorry for the confusion.

Anonymous said...

I'd imagine that the local management of Sam's Club would be interested to know that there is a shifty solicitor at a table in front of their store, one that keeps virtually all of the profit for themselves. National management might also be interested.

Tom Casady said...

12:23-

Yes, I talked to the manager. Actually, the guy who called me walked into the store and handed him his cell phone!

Anonymous said...

DARE was a good program in theory, but I pretty much knew it didn't work for a couple of kids in my 6th grade class. They got banned from "DARE graduation" for smoking marijuana on the school playground the night of the "graduation" ceremony.

Anonymous said...

these people were outside WalMart North on Friday afternoon also

Anonymous said...

If the DARE program is such a waste of time and money why does the State Patrol still have a state-wide DARE coordinator and support the program? Is the fact that the program hasn't been successful not common knowledge for agencies?

Anonymous said...

I took DARE sponsored by the state patrol when I was in 5th grade....It had no effect on me really. I don't do drugs, but it's because of my upbringning, not because Trooper Ledden spent 1 hour a week in my classroom... The money can be better spent. I had to sit through hours of DARE and all I got was this T-shirt....

Anonymous said...

I saw these people outside WalMart south last week Thursday (6/26) and they were there again this afternoon (7/2).

Anonymous said...

I agree with DARE not being completely efective, however, what are we doing in our schools, other than teacher support, to help teach kids valuable life lessons? Doesn't Douglass County still have a small DARE program?