May 12, 2010
Red Ribbon Week officially kicked of on Friday, October 23 with Florida State University student-athletes volunteering to speak at various schools to ask students to take the pledge to be drug free and talk to them about the importance of doing well in school.
During this weeklong celebration, select student-athletes spoke to students encouraging them to “Say No to Drugs,” and urging them to be drug free.
“I love doing things like this,” said FSU punter Shawn Powell. “It brings me joy to be able to talk to kids and possibly impact their lives.”
At each school, students listened as student-athletes told stories of why they choose to be drug free, the importance of saying no and the consequences that one could face if they elected to do drugs, associate with people who do drugs or if they choose to sale and distribute drugs or associate with those who choose to sale and distribute drugs. In addition to visiting local schools, student-athletes, in conjunction with the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, were able to deliver Red Ribbon Week materials to schools on the south side of town. These materials included pencils, stickers, and “I’ve Got Better Things to Do” ribbons, and bracelets.
Red Ribbon Week is an alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign observed annually, every October 23-31. In 1985, Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was kidnapped while working undercover in Mexico. After he and his pilot were found murdered. Citizens in his hometown of Calexico, California wore red ribbons in his honor. The red ribbon became their symbol for prevention in order to reduce the demand of illegal drugs.
The weeklong campaign provides multiple opportunities for students, parents, teachers and others to join together to address the alcohol, tobacco, other drug and violence related issues or concerns in their community. Red Ribbon Week owes its success and national recognition to the thousands of parents, teachers and individuals, schools and grass roots organizations that worked tirelessly at a local level to educate children and prevent drug use. Today, the annual Red Ribbon Week celebration is the most far-reaching and well-known drug prevention awareness campaign in the United States.