TRUMBULL \u2014 The COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of changes to school curricula throughout the region. In Trumbull, one such change was that the town\u2019s prevention program, TPAUD couldn\u2019t offer at least one of its key programs. Every year, TPAUD presents D.A.R.E.\u2019s keepin\u2019 it REAL program to Trumbull\u2019s fifth graders, said Kiersten Naumann, TPAUD program coordinator. Part of the national D.A.R.E. substance abuse prevention program, keepin\u2019 it REAL teaches students in elementary and middle school about communication, peer pressure and other basic life skills. When the program was suspended due to the pandemic, Naumann said, it was not surprising, but still disappointing. \u201cIt does allow the kids to learn some really great strategies, like how to build communication skills and how to deal with peer pressure,\u201d she said. Then, Madison Middle School school resource officer Wes Bartosik stepped in and offered to record a series of videos for students on many of the same topics that the D.A.R.E. program would cover. Lara Walden, program manager for Trumbull Community Television, stepped in to do the filming and editing. The videos, packaged under the name \u201cPositive Choices, Healthy Kids\u201d were made available to fifth grade families, and middle school students were able to view them, too. The program was such a success that Naumann nominated both Bartosik and Walden for Coalition Sector All-Star awards, which are given by the Connecticut Association of Prevention Professionals, a statewide network of prevention advocates. The pair won the award, which honors those who have made a particularly strong impact in the field of prevention. Naumann said the recognition is deeply deserved. \u201cWe felt like they had really gone above and beyond,\u201d she said. \u201cWe were so thrilled and wanted to make sure they got the recognition they deserved.\u201d The 15-minute video covered such topics as \u201cresponsible decision making,\u201d \u201cpeer pressure,\u201d and \u201cstress,\u201d and each segment ended with a \u201cconversation kick-off\u201d that parents could use to speak with their kids about these topics. That last piece impressed a lot of families, Naumann said. \u201cThe parents don\u2019t usually get to be part of that conversation,\u201d she said. Naumann said the videos received good feedback, and are now available on the TPAUD website. She said, though she hopes the D.A.R.E. program can come back soon. \u201cPositive Choices, Healthy Kids,\u201d was helpful in starting conversations, and she\u2019s glad it\u2019s available to everyone. \u201cIt was a great community project,\u201d she said.