By Abbey Snow
Charles Hughes Middle School sixth-grade students received awards on Dec. 4 for completion of the DREAMS program, which is an outreach program for youth led by the Mesquite Police Department.
SRO and K9 Operator at MPD, Justin Goodsell, was in charge of instructing the students through the five-week program, which was initially created and developed by the Henderson Police Department with hopes of eventually implementing it nationwide.
“Approximately 205 students participated,” Goodsell said. “Each student was given a poster board and asked to create a DREAMS Board. On this board, each student was asked to choose two careers paths and the steps necessary to accomplish each career.”
The acronyms in the program stand for: D-Decisions, R-Responsibility, E-Education, A-Achievement, M-Motivation and S-Self-esteem. The goal of the program is to teach students the right tools needed to make good decisions throughout their lives to ensure more positive outcomes.
Goodsell uses an analogy by having the students picture themselves walking along a path and suddenly the path ends and turns into a cliff. The only way to get to the other side is to build a bridge by utilizing the tools learned in the DREAMS program. Once each piece is in place, they will be able to cross the bridge and keep going on the path.
The program is a five-week course that starts with students using a poster board to create their DREAMS board. They create two career paths in life, as well as each step needed to accomplish the careers. In the second and third weeks, they learn how the mind is affected when drugs are being used, as well as how smoking tobacco and marijuana affect their lungs and health. The fourth week talks about alcohol abuse, prescription drugs and peer pressure. The last week covers internet and online safety.
Goodsell said that during the sixth and seventh weeks, the students presented their finished work to the other students, him and their English teachers who participated to help grade their presentations. Many of the students gained more confidence and it helped to overcome their fear of public speaking, said Goodsell.
“By completing and presenting their DREAMS boards, as well as class participation, each student earned a certificate and a prize at graduation,” Goodsell said.
Goodsell said he enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with the students and hopes they will use the tools they were taught and place them in their tool bag of life.