OH THE PLACES RED RIBBON GOES!
Red Ribbon Week Whirlwind.
I started in Washington DC at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes. Every year, the Department of Defense presents awards to the outstanding Prevention and Treatment Centers from each branch of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard. What a thrill to hear the story of the Army Garrison Japan and how they affected not just the lives of the members of the military and their families, but the entire base. I was also really moved by the Navy's Drug Education for Youth program in Norfolk, Virginia. The Military has less than 2% of their population test positive for drugs…We need to learn from the military and duplicate their efforts.
Then on to discussing HOW the Department of Education’s Safe & Healthy Schools can equip educators across America with the right tools during Red Ribbon Week with Paul Kesner. Informed Families' programs are TIER 1 UNIVERSAL PREVENTION PROGRAMS.
Later, I met with the Drug Czar, James Carroll, at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Director Carroll had been the keynote speaker at the Pentagon and also at DEA Headquaters. He is charged with coordinating drug efforts. What better place to start than discussing the size and scope of Red Ribbon Week. I asked Director Carroll to recognize the work of grassroots efforts as a way to empower a loyal base of Americans opposed to drug use. Since many states are adopting the Lock Your Meds Campaign, it would be nice to have a unified campaign that came from grassroots such as Lock Your Meds to help address the opioid crisis.
I rounded out the day with the National Family Partnership’s own Alicia Georges, who now is the Vice President and head of Volunteers at AARP, because what would Red Ribbon Week be without dedicated volunteers?!
Finally, I flew to Tallahassee for the Governor’s Council on Drug Abuse to talk about Red Ribbon Week Across America and what it takes to make Red Ribbon Week as effective as possible. The first two necessary ingredients are Faith and Hope - believing in people’s ability to make good decisions when the environment is reinforcing them with healthy, positive messages. Presenters who followed my presentation started by saying their children had to wear Red today to school! Red Ribbon immerses people in the message.
On my flight home, the Orange County Commission was highlighting Red Ribbon Certified Schools. And Paragon Detox, a drug treatment program, installed a billboard on 95 in Palm Beach County spreading the Red Ribbon message.
When my head hit the pillow, I read one last text. It was from Simone Knight, now a VP at Univision, showing me a photo of her daughter taking the Red Ribbon pledge in her school in Pembroke Pines! Way to go Gabby. We are proud of you.
Red Ribbon is everywhere and I am grateful to all of you who deliver Red Ribbon Week messages in Fun and Effective ways to our children.
What did you do for Red Ribbon Week? I look forward to hearing from you.