Emmetsburg Observes Red Ribbon Awareness Week
With the coming of fall, along with it comes Red Ribbon Awareness Week, showing children the dangers of drugs. The week of Oct. 26 through Oct. 30 was the designated week for Awareness and the theme was “Just Don’t Do It.”
“This year we asked the students to wear something red everyday and we have tokens to hand out each day of the week to everyone that wears some kind of red. It might be a coloring book or a bracelet, something with a slogan on it about being drug free,” Emmetsburg School Counselor Kate Schiek said. “I teach a prevention unity to my sixth grade counseling class and it is very in depth.”
“I break down my sixth graders into smaller groups so one group will get this during Red Ribbon Awareness Week. Then we do it again in February and around April so that everyone gets a chance to participate,” Schiek continued.
A door-decorating contest at both the Middle School and West Elementary will also be done with prizes to the top five doors.
Various activities were planned throughout the week. On Monday, October 26, Officer Darrin Adams with the Emmetsburg Police Department was on hand at the Middle School to show different drugs and drug paraphernalia students have the potential to see at some point in their lives.
“Red Ribbon Awareness Week started in 1985 with the murder of Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in Guadalajara, Mexico. Camerena had been working to stop the transportation of drugs across the border into the United States for many years and paid the ultimate price.”
Engaging the children by asking questions and role-playing, it was amazing to realize just how aware students are. From prescription drugs to illegal drugs, the sixth graders named everything from K2 to ecstasy to marijuana to opium, they also understood that even over-the-counter medicines could be harmful if used incorrectly.
Wanting to show the students that drugs can be found, not just in big cities like Chicago, IL., Officer Adams brought in evidence that he had collected from a prior drug bust in Emmetsburg.
Officer Adams complimented the students on their knowledge of what could be bad and harmful to them and he left them with this final thought:
“I guarantee you that before you graduate, someone will approach you sometime and try to get you to use drugs. From what I see today, you have the knowledge and sense to say no.”
Linda Halgren from Compass Pointe was on hand to talk with seventh grade students about drugs, peer pressure and making good choices.
To finish off the week, Ray Lozano, a Drug and Substance Prevention Specialist from the Los Angeles, CA. area. Lozano’s presentation is sponsored by a grant provided by the Elks Lodge in Estherville, IA. through their drug awareness program. Lozano and the Elks Lodge believe in helping to improve the lives of children and adults across the country by providing them with information that will help people make informed decisions throughout their lifetimes.