ROCK SPRINGS – Eastside Elementary is ensuring that all of their students are engaged in the Red Ribbon Week program. The Red Ribbon Campaign is the Nation’s oldest drug prevention program.
The program began in 1988 in response to the murder of DEA agent, Enrique (Kiki) Camerena. Red Ribbons were the chosen symbol of intolerance for drugs. Sponsored by the National Family Partnership, this event has happened and grown every year since Agent Camerena’s death in order to present a visible commitment to create a Drug-Free America.
Each year, the Red Ribbon Campaign chooses a theme to spread across the United States to bring awareness to students about staying drug free. The 2013 Campaign is “A Healthy Me is Drug Free.” Teens are 42% less likely to use drugs if parents or guardians talk to them about drug use and abuse. And yet, only 25% of teens report that they have engaged in these conversations with their parents or guardians.
The Red Ribbon Campaign opens up the channels of communication between students and parents by providing students with information and activities centered around a drug-free life. There is also an online pledge for parents to sign to show that they are committed to speaking to their children, setting good examples, and providing appropriate consequences in order to keep them drug-free.
In Sweetwater County School District #1, the D.A.R.E. program has involved schools in the Red Ribbon Campaign. Eastside Elementary was ecstatic to educate the students there about living drug-free. Some of the planned activities included giving away playground balls for “Having a Ball Day” in order to remind students that a lot of fun can be had without ever having to use or abuse any substances. One day was all about teams and the students were encouraged to come to school dressed in their favorite team’s jersey.
The energy and conversations that are created from student activities are carried home. These activities enable parents to have realistic, honest conversations about being and staying drug-free, and that is what Red Ribbon Week is all about. Educating students in Sweetwater County School District #1 has to reach much farther than “reading, writing, ‘rithmatic.” Keeping students educated about a drug-free life opens up doors to continued success throughout their lives and that is the ultimate goal.
Eastside Elementary will continue to educate their students on as many subjects as necessary so that the future of the community is in good hands. The Red Ribbon Week lasts but seven days, but the effects and discussions and drug-free education will continue to reverberate throughout each student for many, many years.