Educate, empower, prevent: It’s Red Ribbon Week

ltr_redribbons-20-wRed Ribbon Week is Oct. 23-31. The students of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions, under the leadership of Joy Richardson) and the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are participating in the Red Ribbon Campaign for the second year in a row. Last year we made the statewide MADD newsletter for the efforts of the kids.

The Red Ribbon Campaign began in 1988 with the death of DEA agent Kiki Camarena at the hands of drug dealers. It’s now been the the largest and oldest national campaign held by the National Family Partnership, and sister organizations like SADD and MADD for 36 years.

Today, the campaign serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate and empower youth; and encourage everyone’s participation in drug prevention activities. The top three drugs most widely used by youth and adults are alcohol, prescription drugs and marijuana. Each year 4,300 children under the age of 21 die from preventable underage drinking-related causes.

The Rappahannock community is being asked to join more than 80 million others nationwide by placing large red bows in highly visible locations around the county to show support for this message/campaign, especially for our students. Additionally, we are asking that parents and educators take this opportunity to talk to students and children about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

Awareness and conversations like this have been proven to reduce incidences among teens of drug and alcohol abuse by as much as 43 percent. Let’s give our youth and our community the tools and encouragement to live a drug-free life. Students will be coming around with bows that have a large Red Ribbon Campaign tag on them this week leading up to the high school’s Homecoming and the holiday season. Red Ribbon Week begins next week. If you would like a red ribbon to place outside of your home or business, please call (or text) 540-229-1112. If you get a bow, please hang on to it for next year so we can continue to grow this community-wide event.

Special thanks to the students of SADD and to Joy Richardson, Jenn Perrot, Wynn Ludwig, Candace Clough, Breda Clough and Danielle Junk — and to Larry Grove for his unwavering support for our chapter of MADD and of the students of Rappahannock.

Kimberly McKiernan

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