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Thu, Nov. 21

Children learn about dangers of drugs during Red Ribbon Week

Courtesy photo<br>Chino Valley’s Heritage Middle School students decorated doors last year for Red Ribbon Week with a “Proud to be Drug-Free” theme.

Courtesy photo<br>Chino Valley’s Heritage Middle School students decorated doors last year for Red Ribbon Week with a “Proud to be Drug-Free” theme.

Students at Abia Judd Elementary School in Prescott will kick off Red Ribbon Week on Monday by tying ribbons to the front fence with a poster that says they pledge to live drug-free.

Throughout Red Ribbon Week, student activities will be tied to the school's Character Counts program and its six pillars of trustworthiness, fairness, caring, responsibility, respect and citizenship, said Abia Judd Elementary School Principal Rosemary Agneessens.

"Students can also choose to work on a project at home with their parents writing about why it's important to be drug-free," Agneessens said. "We wanted that to be a conversation that happens with parents."

Studies show that substance abuse risks lessen when parents talk to their children about the dangers of drugs.

Red Ribbon Week, Oct. 22-26, was created 27 years ago by the National Family Partnership in response to the abduction and murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena in 1985. Parents, youths and teachers in communities across the country began wearing red ribbons to raise awareness of the destruction caused by drugs.

At Taylor Hicks Elementary School, Principal Brian Moore will each morning read a message about being drug-free that ties in with that day's theme, said Dawn Despain, who chairs the school's Red Ribbon Week activities.

"Each day will have a different dress-up theme, like hat day, and students and their classes can win awards for participating," Despain said.

Students will collect non-perishable food for a food drive on Thursday, and meet a group of soldiers on Friday who will talk about being drug-free, Despain added.

Families can get involved by entering a contest sponsored by National Family Partnership and the DEA to promote awareness in their neighborhoods by decorating the front of their home with this year's message: "The Best Me Is Drug-Free." Take a photo of the display with the family in it and upload it to www.redribbon.org/contest or www.facebook.com/RedRibbonWeek by Nov. 2. Then ask family and friends to vote for your entry at www.redribbon.org/vote between Nov. 2-16.

The prize is a $1,000 drug-prevention grant for their school, and a new iPad for themselves. Ten winners will be chosen from across the United States. Winners will be notified at school events in December.

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