Grand Haven public safety officer Eric Berends recalls the old slogan about keeping kids off drugs — “Just Say No.”
He realizes now that just saying no isn’t enough.
“There are plenty of poor choices dangling before our kids,” said Berends, who is the department’s student services officer. “Research shows that if you offer them positive choices, it’s much more effective than the old campaign of Just Say No.
“Now we’ve evolved. You can’t just stop there. You have to give them choices.”
One of those positive choices is through exercise, and that’s what led to the upcoming Resistance Run, which will take place Sept. 7. The event will feature a 5K and a 10K run, both of which will begin and end at Harbor Island in Grand Haven.
The running event is a fundraiser for the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety’s D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, which has a primary mission of providing children with the information and the skills they need to live drug and violence-free lives.
All proceeds from the Resistance Run will help support the D.A.R.E. program by providing educational tools, materials and information.
“This is geared toward kids, helping them make positive choices, safe choices, with regards to drugs, alcohol and other decisions, especially in middle school and high school,” Berends said.
“We’re trying to show kids how to live healthy, productive lives,” added Lt. Joe Boyle.
Ron Knoll is serving as the race director for the event. Knoll, who is also the director of the Grand Haven Triathlon, said the run course will mirror much of the triathlon’s run course.
“It’s one of the most scenic runs in the state of Michigan, going out and back along the boardwalk,” Knoll said.
Boyle explained that the Department of Public Safety was looking for a way to help offset the considerable cost of the D.A.R.E. program. In previous years, the department has held a car wash and a golf outing.
“We wanted to find a way that we can help support it financially, and we figured, what better way, once the busy season has subsided, than to let people come out and be a part of a great running event,” Boyle said.
Knoll noted that volunteers are needed for the event.
For more information, to register for the run, or to volunteer, visit ghdpsresistancerun.org/.