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Red Ribbon Week 2011

Red Ribbon Week 2011 is October 23-31st. The theme for the Red Ribbon Week 2011 is “It’s up to me to be drug free” giving teens and children everywhere the sense of personal responsibility they have in keeping oneself drug free. The week of Oct 23-31st is the nationally recognized week for Red Ribbon Week, but  if your school missed out on it this week, don’t be afraid to get some Red Ribbon week ideas and Red Ribbon week activities and do it another week during the school year.

National Red Ribbon Week was started in 1988 in honor of Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent working on marijuana and cocaine trafficking. On February 7, 1985 he was kidnapped and murdered by Mexican drug traffickers. Shortly after his death an old high school friend and a Congressman joined together in his hometown and launched the “Camarena Clubs” that quickly had hundreds of members joining and pledging to be drug-free in honor of Kiki. These pledges were presented to First Lady Nancy Reagan and resulted in the formal formation of Red Ribbon Week a couple of years later.

How to celebrate Red Ribbon Week

Today Red Ribbon Week is celebrated in schools and communities Nationwide (an estimated 80 million people participate in Red Ribbon Week each year). There are many different ways that schools and communities can show their support of Red Ribbon Week. For many it may simply be wearing a red ribbon, for schools it is usually a bigger deal with decorations, contests, parades, etc. The scope of the event varies a lot from place to place depending on the amount of time and funds that are available. The more activities there are and the more people that you can get involved the better. Mixing it up from year to year can also help keep people interested and aware of what Red Ribbon Week is all about. There are many sites that have a lot of great Red Ribbon Week activities and ideas. ncada-stl.org is a great resource for hundreds of unique Red Ribbon Week activity ideas.

Whether it is at home, at school, or in the community participating in Red Ribbon Week every year is a great opportunity to open up and really talk to kids about drugs. If they don’t understand why drugs are bad and that their family and friends care about whether or not they are doing drugs, they will be a lot more likely to give them a try. The more they understand and see how many people want them to say no to drugs, the easier it will be for them to make that decision before the opportunity ever arises. If you live in an area where you know drugs are a problem, offer education and resources for those that may be looking for help or drug treatment information. Often it just takes someone saying they care and offering help for an individual to make the move to seek out help for their drug addiction.

No matter how big or small your Red Ribbon Week 2011 activities are, make sure you take this opportunity to share the simple message: “It’s up to me to be drug free”.  Each individual that makes the decision to be drug free will set an example for many others that are influenced by him/her every day. We don’t always realize the influence we have on other people. It may be siblings, younger students at school, kids at the bus stop or in the neighborhood. Everywhere we go people are aware of us and what we are doing. For younger kids, seeing teens that are happy and smiling and working hard gives them motivation to do the same. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to remind your community members to be drug free.

Resources: ncada-stl.org, justice.gov/dea/ongoing/redribbon_factsheet.html