Langdon Area High School (LAHS) Family & Consumer Sciences teacher Amy Kram and the FCCLA student members coordinated activities to participate in and promote Red Ribbon Week at the high school during the last week of October. FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) is a student organization that is a part of the Family & Consumer Science curriculum. Red Ribbon Week is a national campaign to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.
“Students participated in a youth action summit a few weeks ago, which focused on advocacy and lots of tobacco free programs, and we decided to combine it into a drug-free/tobacco-free week for Red Ribbon Week,” said Kram.
Senior Tucker Regner was one of those students. “Fellow students and I attended a virtual seminar - North Dakota Youth Action Summit - with other students around the state,” said Regner. “This seminar talked about different tobacco and drug-related problems in the state. It was interesting because, while the seminar was preaching about not smoking, they also taught us, the attendees, how to be advocates of our own. They taught us to be the next leaders that come into schools.”
Senior Hope Thorlakson explains how they promoted the drug-free/tobacco-free theme through fun activities for the school, “On Monday we handed out numbered red ribbons and then each day over the announcements we told facts and statistics and then drew a few numbers and whoevers number we drew, if they were wearing their ribbon, they received a prize,” said Hope. “We had themed dress up days every day such as ‘team up against tobacco and drugs’ (students and staff wore jerseys or team shirts), ‘give drugs and tobacco a boot’ (dress up in boots and cowboy clothing), and ‘wear red and show awareness for red ribbon week’. Wacky Wednesday was our big day of the week. We passed out doughnuts to all the high school and middle school students and staff saying, ‘doughnut get yourself involved in drugs and tobacco.’”
Red Ribbon Week has its roots in the 1980s and the non-profit group National Family Partnership. NFP is a grassroots effort by parents dedicated to playing a leadership role in drug prevention. Their focus is on awareness through sponsoring the Red Ribbon Campaign; advocacy at the local, state and national level; and providing resources by acting as a national clearinghouse of prevention literature. Their mission is to lead and support the nation’s families and communities in nurturing the full potential of healthy, drug-free youth.
“I love how it’s a platform for drugs and tobacco,” said Hope, “and that we raise awareness about those topics. We had great participation with everything from dress up days to the prizes we gave out though the week.”
That awareness can have a ripple effect. It may help a student struggling with choices, or it may help them realize there are struggles in people around them. “We know that it made an impact, but a lot of times we can’t tell really how far it goes,” said Regner. “The student may not have an issue with tobacco or drugs, but they may go home and talk to a loved one who might struggle. It makes more of an impact inside our brains than on the outside.”