Souhegan Valley schools help make Red Ribbon Week a huge success

To the Editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our community partners in sharing the 2014 theme for Red Ribbon Week, which is “Love Yourself Be Drug Free.”

Red Ribbon Week is a national drug prevention campaign that began back in 1988 as a result of the death of a DEA agent. Today, the red ribbons displayed during the last week of October serve as a catalyst to engage and mobilize youth and their communities to participate in drug prevention activities.

We asked the schools in the Souhegan Valley to partner with us and promote Red Ribbon Week in their schools – they did! The middle and high schools took this opportunity to provide specific activities for their students (our children) to engage in, and the messaging the students came up with far exceeded our expectations.

Milford High students took the civic route and received permission from the Milford selectmen to decorate the Milford Oval with red ribbons and fliers. Milford High School students also decorated their classroom doors with healthy choice pledges.

Amherst Middle School had over 70 classroom doors decorated by students, many of which had very specific facts relative to substance use and were quite creative in their messaging.

Milford Middle School students created a giant pledge poster for their peers to sign.

Hollis Brookline Middle School students created a wall and chain of pledges to make healthy choices.

Hollis Brookline High School students shared red ribbons and wristbands with their school community.

There were many other activities promoting prevention of alcohol and other drug use that were conducted in the schools, as well.

We would also like to recognize those business/community organizations that participated and/or promoted the “Love Yourself Be Drug Free” message during Red Ribbon Week. Those include the Milford selectmen, Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley, Kenmore Stamp Co., Hampshire Hills Sports & Fitness Club, Milford Elementary PTO, Milford Ambulance Service, Granite Town Media, and Brookline and Hollis cable access channels.

This was a great collaborative effort on a short notice, and Community Action for Safe Teens (CAST) greatly appreciates the efforts of all those involved.

Please visit our Facebook page to see pictures of the activities and signs that were posted around town. It was very encouraging to see the messages around town and the connections that were made between the schools and community with this positive messaging. Thank you, and we are looking forward to next year’s campaign!

If you would like to learn more about how you can help prevent youth alcohol and other drug use, please join us at a coalition meeting, visit our website at www.castnh.org or contact us at cast@svbgc.org. CAST, a committee of the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley, meets on the second Wednesday of each month. The mission of CAST is to prevent substance use and promote healthy choices among youths in Souhegan Valley.

Monica Gallant
Coordinator
Community Action for Safe Teens