Red Ribbon week is taking place across the nation this week with the theme of “The Best Me is Drug Free.”
Red Ribbon week, Oct. 23 – 31, is a nationally recognized week for communities to take a visible stand against substance abuse. Wearing a red ribbon or red this week shows a personal commitment to a drug-free lifestyle, according to the National Family Partnership website, www.NFP.org. NFP is the sponsor of Red Ribbon week.
“The Red Ribbon Campaign was started when drug traffickers in Mexico City murdered [Drug Enforcement Agency] DEA agent [Enrique] Kiki Camarena in 1985. This began the continuing tradition of displaying Red Ribbons as a symbol of intolerance towards the use of drugs. The mission of the Red Ribbon Campaign is to present a unified and visible commitment towards the creation of a DRUG-FREE AMERICA,” said the NFP website.
“We are helping citizens across the state come together to keep children, families and communities safe, healthy and drug-free, through parent training, networking and sponsoring the National Red Ribbon Campaign,” the website said.
As part of Red Ribbon week, all three schools on Fort Huachuca wore red and participated in a variety of events to show their support.
Colonel Smith Middle School held an assembly Monday morning to kick off the week with two guest speakers, Alcohol and Drug Control Officer Kevin Mills, and Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program and Parent-Teacher Organization President Frank Diaz. The rest of the week the students will wear red to show their support.
Mills told the students about Camarena and how he lost his life fighting the war on drugs and why the nation has Red Ribbon Week. “You should feel proud, when you walk and you wear red, and you come in contact with your friends, to let them know, that here at Fort Huachuca, we have a drug-free community, because what we want is for each and every one of you to go and live your lives in a drug-free environment and being able to not feel threatened by someone that is using drugs.”
“Everyone gets to make that choice, and you are going to come to that moment in time, and there is going to be a line and you can either give into the peer pressure, and that’s fear but when you step across this line, on the other side is courage. The courage to be you, because you are beautiful and special just the way you are,” Diaz told the students. “Have the courage to step away from that fear, in that moment in time, and embrace it and be you.”
General Myer Elementary School had a Red Ribbon “Kick Off” walk/run on Monday, where students and staff wore red or their “School Rocks Drug Free” t-shirts and walked or ran the track at their lunch recess. The school also started a door-decorating contest on Monday that will be judged on Friday. Tuesday was “turn your back on drugs,” day where students could wear their t-shirts backwards, Wednesday was “it’s crazy to do drugs,” crazy hair and sock day and today is “put a cap on drugs” where students can wear hats all day.
Tonight the school is also having a family night from 6 – 8 p.m. ASAP will have a booth set up. Tomorrow is “hugs, not drugs,” where students can bring a stuffed animal to hug while at school.
“We feel it is really important to educate students at this age so they make good choices in relation to tobacco and drugs,” said General Myer Elementary School Counselor, Jan Camps. “Teaching these lessons early on will help make a difference later on when they transition into middle and high school.”
Colonel Johnston Elementary had a canned food drive in the beginning of the week as well as wore red all week in support. They will have an assembly on Friday with the 62nd Army Band performing.
Fort Huachuca ASAP workers and volunteers passed out Red Ribbon goodies at each school during the week. Smith students received red wristbands and backpacks, Myer students were given red wristbands and water bottles, and Johnston students received wristbands, coloring pencils, books and coin purses.