Kansas Family Partnership hosted more than 100 middle and high school students and teachers from 10 Kansas counties at its annual Red Ribbon Luncheon and Training on Thursday, March 27 in Topeka. The event, held at Pozez Education Center in Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center, honored six student groups for their work on the 2013 Red Ribbon Campaign and empowered youth to take an active role in preventing underage drug use.
Students attended the luncheon and training from Arkansas City Middle School, Burlington High School, Doniphan West Elementary/Middle School (Denton), Eudora High School, Eureka Junior/Senior High School, Highland Park High School (Topeka), Landon Middle School (Topeka), Lawrence High School, Louisburg Middle School, Randolph Elementary School (Topeka) and Wabaunsee High School (Alma).
The Red Ribbon Campaign is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation, reaching an estimated 80 million people each year in more than 100,000 schools. The campaign started in 1988 to honor Kiki Camarena, a DEA agent who was killed by the Mexican drug cartel. Today, all across the country, people display and wear red ribbons to celebrate the campaign’s mission.
“The Red Ribbon Campaign is an ideal way for schools and communities to unite and take a visible stand against drugs,” said Maria Torrez Anderson, Kansas Red Ribbon Campaign coordinator. “It encourages people to show their personal commitment to a drug-free lifestyle through the symbol of a red ribbon.”
During the Red Ribbon Luncheon, Secretary Shawn Sullivan, Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, and Shayna McCall, Kansas SADD Student Leadership Council, gave keynote addresses. Awards were also presented to six Kansas schools for their outstanding 2013 Red Ribbon Campaign activities:
- Burlington High School, Burlington, received a Level III Plaque for the group’s week-long focus on community drug prevention education activities
- Doniphan West Elementary/Middle School, Denton, received a Level III Certificate for the group’s drug-free alternative activities and presentations
- Landon Middle School, Topeka, received a Level II Plaque for the group’s underage drinking awareness and prevention efforts
- Randolph Elementary School, Topeka, received a Level I Plaque for the group’s week-long theme days and drug-related trivia activities
- Hutchinson STEM Magnet School, Hutchinson, received a Level I Certificate for the group’s week-long theme days and focus on information dissemination
- Northeast High School, Arma, received a Level I Certificate for the group’s pledges to be drug free and interactive drug-free alternatives for students
Red Ribbon Awards were given based on the student groups’ abilities to show:
- implementation of substance use prevention strategies
- thoughtfulness and planning to meet identified community needs
- unique angle and originality toward substance use prevention
- efforts to mentor other groups completing Red Ribbon activities
- collaborations between school and community
- measurement of campaign impact and results
The Red Ribbon Luncheon also recognized Kristi Gosser, Stormont-Vail HealthCare, with the Laura L. Clark Award for her continued commitment to supporting the Kansas Red Ribbon Campaign and coordinating its annual Red Ribbon Luncheon and Training. Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control was also honored with the H.E.R.O. Award for the resources, information and services it provides through its partnership with the Kansas Red Ribbon Campaign. The Kansas Red Ribbon Committee also announced the selection of its new 2014-2015 chair, Trooper Don Hughes, Kansas Highway Patrol.
Morning and afternoon Red Ribbon Training sessions taught attendees how to plan and implement proven Red Ribbon strategies through interactive, skill-building activities and use of Kansas youth substance use data. Attendees explored new ways to deal with critical issues facing youth and communities today, including the effects of drug use on the body, current and new drug updates, DUI and social hosting laws, facing peer pressure, and being a leader and role model.
“The Red Ribbon Training gives students and teachers the opportunity to learn new prevention strategies that they can take back to their communities and implement for the 2014 Red Ribbon Campaign,” said Torrez Anderson. “We want to help youth make a difference and have an impact on improving the health and safety of communities across the state.”
Bill Cordes, nationally-known motivational speaker and author, lead the conference. Cordes presents to more than 70,000 students, teachers and businesses annually and draws on his life experiences from being a former high school teacher, college instructor, coach, television talk show host, husband and father of four.
The Red Ribbon Luncheon and Training was sponsored by Kansas Family Partnership, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, Stormont-Vail HealthCare and AAA Kansas. For more information, visit www.kansasfamily.com or call Kansas Family Partnership at 1.800.206.7231. The Kansas Red Ribbon Campaign is coordinated by KFP. Find KFP on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kansasfamily and Twitter @KsFamilyPartner.