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MO Dare Association Conference

The Missouri Dare Officers Association is holding its conference in Springfield this week. Michele Skalicky has more.

A little more than 100 DARE officers from across the state are meeting in Springfield this week—just before the start of the new school year. They're here for the Missouri DARE Officers Association Conference. Corporal Al Spencer is the Association's president.

He says officers receive training on a variety of topics from control of the classroom to drug updates.

Spencer says some people believe that all DARE officers do is tell kids to not use drugs. But he says it's more than that

DARE officers teach kids in grades K thru 12 things like decision-making skills, although Spencer says many schools choose to target fifth and sixth graders. They also teach classes, upon the request of the school, in things like cyber bullying, which Spencer says is becoming a problem, especially among girls

Al Spencer says cyber bullying can have a negative impact on a child's self-esteem.

He feels like he's making a difference in kids' lives. He's been known to go out on the school playground and play with the kids he teaches

DARE officers who are here for the MO DARE Officers Association conference are making a difference in Springfield. Monday, they painted the playground equipment at Jeffries Elementary. Today, they'll visit kids at Cox South who have been diagnosed with cancer, and at 5 tonight, they'll hold a car show featuring a variety of DARE cars from all over Missouri in the Wal-Mart parking lot on Independence St.

The conference started Monday and will wrap up at noon on Friday.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.