Red Ribbon Week is a nation-wide drug prevention awareness week that runs from October 23-31st each year. Sponsored by the National Family Partnership, the mission of the Red Ribbon Campaign is to be a very visible, unified push toward creating safe, healthy, and drug-free communities throughout the United States. Aimed at school-age audiences, this year’s Red Ribbon Week is Respect Yourself: Be Drug Free. “We know that just telling youth that drugs are bad and not to use them doesn’t work. Instead, we are working to educate around how drugs negatively affect the adolescent brain and to focus on positive alternatives to drug use in that population,” said Alyssa Grams, AmeriCorps member with the Teen Advocacy Coalition (TAC), “I think this goes hand in hand with the theme of self-respect.”
During Red Ribbon Week in North Pacific County, TAC will be holding awareness days at Raymond, South Bend, and Willapa Valley high schools. According to Grams, “One of the things you hear a lot from youth, especially in rural areas, is that there’s nothing better to do here than get drunk or high. That’s a very common excuse for adolescent drug and alcohol use and, I think, one that’s important to address.” That’s exactly what TAC is hoping to do during Red Ribbon Week. At lunch time, students at all three high schools will have the opportunity to contribute to a collage of sorts by writing one of their favorite activities or, rather, one thing they’d “rather be doing than drugs”. These collages will then be displayed at each school.
TAC is partnering with school counselors and True North to provide accurate drug and alcohol information to students. “One of the most important aspects of TAC is to raise teen awareness regarding substance abuse,” Gracie Manlow, TAC Project Coordinator said. “By partnering with other organizations, students are receiving the most up to date data.”
While TAC is focusing on talking directly with teens for Red Ribbon Week, help and support from parents and community members is critical in working toward safe and drug-free communities for Pacific County youth.
If you would like more information about drugs and the adolescent brain or what you can do to help, or if you’d like red ribbons to display at your organization or place of business in support of Red Ribbon Week, please contact TAC at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 214-1307.