Often, someone will warn us - not to let our reach exceed our grasp, not to reach too far, or aim too high. Sometimes, perhaps that’s good advice.
For instance, if we sing off-key in the choir, around the house, or even where the self-deluding acoustics are, at the imaginary microphone in the shower, then we’re probably not going to win the nextAmerican Idol.
And hundreds of similar examples will arise in our lives to remind us of our limitations, of what we should not do, what we are unequipped to pursue.
But often, the dreams we feel we cannot reach for, discourage us from those we can – and should. We are all uniquely equipped to make a positive contribution to the world, and sometimes we need to be encouraged and supported in the endeavor. The innovative, nationally-recognized Warren County Sheriff’s Office Reach For Your Dreams Program, created by Sheriff Jerry “Peanuts” Gaines, and headed by Captain Joe Jakub, is designed to counter the tendency to dismiss our reachable dreams.
Now what does a law enforcement agency have to do with our county’s children dreaming and achieving? Most of us know, or know of, someone whose law-abiding life got off-track because of aspirations that were thwarted, neglected, or undeveloped due to substance abuse. Sheriff Gaines, Captain Jakub, and the WCSO staff believe one of law enforcement’s highest community-policing priorities is helping children fulfill their potential, and achieving the dreams that will improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
The WCSO Reach For Your Dreamsprogram is Warren County’s resonant alternative to substance abuse. Reach For Your Dreams has been enhanced by the support, planning and input of law enforcement, educational, medical, judicial, legislative, executive, and corporate advisors, along with thePrevention Partnership’s Dream Team.
These advisors are inexhaustible in their efforts, and invaluable in their insights. Debuting in 2004, the program is designed for elementary, middle school and high school students. From the outset, the program was deemed a success by participating parents, educators, and students alike. Under Jakub’s direction, the shared vision of Sheriff Gaines, the advisors and dream team – of the real choices and consequences of drug use – are dramatically addressed. Audiences are riveted, as guests from varied backgrounds relate their experiences with addiction and its devastating effects.
History of WCSO’s Reach For Your Dreams:
The program is an outgrowth of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE). Sheriff Gaines and Captain Jakub, DARE’s Officer of the Year in 2001, partner to protect Warren County’s children. In the 1980s, Sheriff Gaines created Prevention Partnership, focusing on anti-drug and anti-violence initiatives for local youth, and the Warren County Crime Fighter Project, featuring high-profile vehicles to draw attention to the anti-drug campaign, during which the Crime Fighter Camaro was dubbed DARE’s National Car of the Year. Later, the Warren County Sheriff’s Crime Fighter Corvette was selected as DARE’s International Car of the Year for three years - in 2001, 2002, and 2004. The Crime Fighter Corvette also appeared in two Presidential Inaugural Parades for President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2005. And in 2004, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office American Spirit Harley was DARE’s International Motorcycle of the Year.)
The success of Warren County’s Reach For Your Dreams program also inspired another Sheriff of the Year to adopt RFYD. Former Sheriff Joe Oxley, who has also served his home of Monmouth County, New Jersey, as prosecutor, mayor, and adjunct professor, implemented the program with Undersheriff Ted Freeman in 2005. Three years later, the respected and community-oriented Sheriff Dave Phalen of Fairfield County, Ohio, initiated a pilot RFYD in his county of 140,000.
Captain Jakub declares that “the greatest benefit of this program is seeing children grow more confident, more aware of their own abilities and inner strength, and sufficiently empowered to pursue their dreams and make them a reality.”
And as Sheriff Gaines says, “When we help Warren County’s young people realize that their goals, are within their grasp, that’s what the Reach For Your Dreams program is all about.”
If we can help your school, organization, or youth group, call on us at 842-1633, and ask for Captain Joe Jakub, or call 282-5555. As a local teacher remarked, “This is the most inspiring, authentic drug presentation I’ve seen. Every student should hear their stories, of hard-learned lessons, of the painful price of drug use choices, and the practical suggestions on avoiding drug encounters in today’s pressurized culture.”
Mission Statement of Reach for Your Dreams:
To provide a sound, adaptable program aimed at helping children reach their dreams.
By reaching out to our community with an anti-drug, anti-violence, reality-based message, we will enhance life quality for young people and their families.