Red Ribbon Week: Marco Island residents, officials plan extensive campaign

Article Highlights

  • “Red Ribbon Week is about encouraging kids to be drug-free and marking the progress we’ve made.
  • The Police Department, partnering with Tommie Barfield fifth graders, are participating in a county wide Red Ribbon poster contest.
  • The first Red Ribbon Celebration was organized in 1986 by a grassroots organization of parents concerned about the destruction caused by alcohol and drug abuse.

The City of Marco Island Police Department is joining with the Florida Division of Law Enforcement to celebrate a healthy, drug-free lifestyle during Red Ribbon Week 2009.

“Red Ribbon Week is about encouraging kids to be drug-free and marking the progress we’ve made. Many teens are choosing to not use drugs,” said Chief Thom Carr. “This campaign provides communities with a forum to bring together parents, school and businesses as we look for new and innovative ways to keep kids drug free.”

“Red Ribbon Week is a chance to be visible and vocal in our desire for a drug-free community,” said officer Jennifer Lofy. “Research shows that children are less likely to use alcohol and other drugs when parents and other role models are clear and consistent in their opposition to substance use and abuse.”

The Police Department, partnering with Tommie Barfield fifth graders, are participating in a county wide Red Ribbon poster contest. Thousands of posters will be submitted with creative messages from our youth in staying drug free. The winner from Tommie Barfield will accompany Officer Lofy in the Swamp Buggy parade on October 24 in Naples.

During the month the Marco Island Police Department and Marco Island Fire Department vehicles will be displaying red ribbons on the vehicles showing the support in having a drug free community.

The Police Department will be assisting in Reality Journey. This program will be put on to all middle and high school students throughout the county. On October 22, Marco Island Charter Middle School and First Baptist Middle and High School will be traveling to East Naples Middle School to observe a presentation that was put together by different community leaders in the county. The strong message they are sharing is how to prevent them from getting involved in the use of drugs.

The first Red Ribbon Celebration was organized in 1986 by a grassroots organization of parents concerned about the destruction caused by alcohol and drug abuse. The red ribbon was adopted as a symbol of the movement in honor of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration who was kidnapped and killed while investigating drug traffickers. The campaign has reached millions of children and has been recognized by the U.S. Congress.

For more information about Red Ribbon Week or prevention resources, contact the Marco Island Police Department at 389-5050.

Activities for communities

■ Plan a kick-off breakfast, luncheon or dinner. Plan the menu to include red foods like red berry pancake syrup or spaghetti. Include community and civic leaders.

■ Have an opening ceremony for Red Ribbon Week at your Courthouse or City Hall.

■ Sponsor a parade as a kick off for Red Ribbon Week. Have law enforcement vehicles including a fire engine, police car and ambulance turn on their flashing red lights in honor of Red Ribbon Week using the slogan “Lights on for Red Ribbon Week.”

■ Generate media attention — PSA, press release, kick-off event, press conference.

■ Get local politicians to issue proclamations supporting Red Ribbon and prevention efforts.

■ Sponsor a luncheon and honor various people throughout the community for their outstanding work and support of youth and healthy lifestyles.

■ Display drug-free posters created by youth.

■ Tie red ribbons around trees, flagpoles or street light poles in the city, business community or city park using red plastic tablecloths cut in strips or larger red ribbon or red highway flagging tape. Be sure to get permission from the city, owners or park board.

■ Decorate bags with red ribbons and prevention messages for use in local stores during Red Ribbon Week.

■ Weave plastic red ribbon or crepe paper through chain link fences.

■ Coordinate Red Ribbon Week activities with crime prevention officers. Invite someone from law enforcement to give a drug and alcohol presentation. If they have a drug-sniffing dog, ask them to give a demonstration. Remember, October is National Crime Prevention month.

■ Have children wear their red ribbons on their Halloween costumes and say “Boo To Drugs” when trick-or-treating.

■ Sponsor a non-alcoholic mixer, serving hot dogs to family members wearing red ribbons or sponsor a sobriety dance for teens.

■ Ask the Chamber of Commerce to issue a challenge to businesses to decorate for Red Ribbon Week. It could include a Storefront-Doorfront Decorating Contest or a Red All Over Day.

■ Place a Red Ribbon Week banner on Main Street.

■ Sponsor athletic events such as a Walk Out On Drugs walkathon, fun run (Red Ribbon Run for Fun), bike-a-thons, slam dunk/shooting contest (Put the Slam on Drugs), etc. as a healthier life activity.

■ Pass out reflectors with the slogan “Say Boo To Drugs.”

■ Sponsor a Say Boo To Drugs carnival at the end of Red Ribbon Week.

■ Have local youth groups like 4-H, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, etc., make large red ribbons, posters or banners to hang at City Hall, schools and local businesses.

■ Include information about Red Ribbon Week in school and church newsletters one month before the awareness week.

■ Sponsor a black tie event to raise money for drug-free community/youth organization. Recruit leaders in the community as waiters.

■ Use a “Rockin’ for Red Ribbon” theme to sponsor teen dances or a rocking chair marathon.

Activities for Businesses

■ Have employees wear, display and handout red ribbons.

■ Include stuffers on Red Ribbon Week in paychecks, billing statements and other mailings.

■ Give a discount, small prizes or free merchandise to people wearing red ribbons during Red Ribbon Week.

■ Adopt a school/classroom or sponsor a community/school Red Ribbon event.

■ Provide T-shirts or hats for students who participate in Red Ribbon activities.

■ Offer incentives for student/employee/school participation.

■ Car dealers could move all the red cars to the front and tie red ribbons on all car antennas in their lots.

■ Display drug free messages on your marquee or in your windows for the week.

■ Sponsor a Red Ribbon Week activity, such as a coloring contest, fun run, bike-a-thon or essay contest.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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