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Remarkable effort

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Many of the programs have been featured previously in the newspaper, through stories and photographs, over the years. But when it came time to compile a special supplement in conjunction with the World Health Organization conference here next week, it was truly eye-opening to realize just how much effort is going into promoting safety in Rainy River District.

The Drug Awareness Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program has been widely successful in elementary schools, and has since been expanded to Grade 10 at Fort Frances High School. The school violence committee continues to trumpet its anti-bullying message, while students and parents team up to stage the “chem-free” grad to ensure everyone celebrates safely and responsibly.

The “Risk Watch” program, spearheaded locally by Greg Allan, is teaching our children how to recognize various hazards—and avoid them. There’s also “Learn Not to Burn,” Charlie Turgeon’s “Challenger” unit (which simulates a house fire), and the new TAPP-C initiative aimed at preventing arson among youngsters.

The Rainy River District Substance Abuse Prevention Team (SAP) has been very active with various programs, mainly in its effort to target impaired driving. Meanwhile, “Operation Lifesaver” takes aim at safety at railway crossings and around trains.

Then there’s all the programs that promote safety for everything from playgrounds and senior citizens to boating, snowmobiling, and firearms. Not to mention all those that push healthy living—including the Heart Health program and “Healthy Babies, Healthy Children” to scratch only the surface.

Equally amazing is to think much of this owes its roots to a small group—comprised initially of Doug Anderson, Doug Langtry, Carol Ewacha, and Grace Silander—that 10 years ago had a vision and started down the path to make Rainy River District a safer community.

Today, they and everyone else involved can be very proud of the fruit their efforts have produced, culminating, of course, with hosting the WHO conference next week. But the real benefits of sowing safety now—particularly among our youth—will be reaped down the road.

Let’s all welcome our visitors with open arms, and join in wishing the organizers and volunteers a great conference. Let’s also never give up making Rainy River District a safer place to live.

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