I have had the honor to be among the past chairs of the Kansas Red Ribbon Committee. This was one of the great highlights of my prevention work in Kansas. During that time, I was so impressed by the creativity and enthusiasm the young people exuded. As participants in the campaign, they became mentors and leaders, encouraging their peers and communities to join them in engaging in a healthy lifestyle.
Red Ribbon started in 1988 in honor of DEA Agent Kiki Camarena. He was tortured to death in Mexico in 1985 by the drug cartel. His belief that one person can make a difference in the battle against illegal drugs is why we remember his sacrifice and honor his commitment to protect what we cherish most – our children.
Once Red Ribbon started, it became a wonderful opportunity for children and youth to honor Kiki and celebrate their choice to live a life free of alcohol and other drugs. For them, it is more than wearing a red ribbon and engaging in activities. It is a celebration of life and a commitment to remain drug free. The same holds true for the Red Ribbon Campaign leaders in Kansas. It is an opportunity to educate and instill in young people that life can be lived and celebrated without the use of alcohol and other drugs.
Through the commitment to live drug free, the power of a clear mind and the belief that one person can make a difference, our young people can and will change the world, one red ribbon at a time.
Carol Spiker, Coordinator, Problem Gambling and Partnership for Success II
Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services
Carol Spiker is a lifelong Kansan. Her undergraduate education was completed at Emporia State University, and she did post graduate work at Washburn University. She began working in the field of prevention in 1996 at Shawnee Regional Prevention and Recovery Services and has continued to work in some aspect of prevention since then. She is currently employed at the State of Kansas, managing an underage drinking grant and overseeing the prevention aspect of problem gambling services. She serves as chair for the Kansas Prevention Credentialing Board and is president of the Midwest Consortium on Problem Gambling and Substance Abuse.