DOBSON — Sheriff Graham Atkinson announced Wednesday that Ryan Atkins Racing and racing sponsor Circle K Convenience Stores have joined forces to support the county’s DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, with the convenience store chain donating $1,000 toward the effort.
Atkins said he has been thinking about the partnership for some time after receiving education through the program when he was a youth.
“Aligning with the DARE program is something we’ve been working on for a few months now,” he said. “I remember the program from when I was in school, and when we mentioned the idea to (sponsor) Circle K, they were more than willing to pledge their support as well.”
Atkins said the convenience store chain is more than a simple racing sponsor.
“They are a true partner,” he said. “We’re proud of our affiliation with the DARE program, and we look forward to working with Sheriff Atkinson and his team.”
Atkins is in the process of making six appearances at local stores to help raise the awareness and effectiveness of the DARE program.
Atkinson said that with the current economic challenges it’s important to have business sponsorship.
“Since its inception, DARE has been funded through private donations, and over the years some of those donors have had to fall by the wayside,” he said. “For Circle K to step up and help us like this, it’s nice to know we have businesses in the county who still think educating kids about drug abuse is important. We’d love to have more businesses take the initiative.”
And Atkins’ interest in the program holds special meaning for the sheriff.
“Ryan is one of my former DARE students,” he said with a smile. “I taught his DARE class when he was in the fifth grade. It makes me feel good that he still thinks it’s important enough that he and his team actually brokered the deal with Circle K.
“Circle K is a new addition to our community, and the Atkins family has been a staple in our county for many generations,” added the sheriff. “We welcome their efforts and participation as we work together to carry on the DARE message.”
Atkins and his team will have one of their cars on display from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Circle K on U.S. 601 in Mount Airy to promote Surry County DARE Day.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.