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Red Ribbon Week

[Oct. 19, 2005]  SPRINGFIELD -- All too often teenagers get bad reputations for their involvement in drug and alcohol abuse. Teens who support drug and alcohol prevention within the community, however, are rarely given credit for their positive influence.

During the week of Oct. 17-21 Sacred Heart-Griffin students are participating in the annual Red Ribbon Week with activities and events throughout the course of the school days. This year's theme is "Building Character at SHG."

"SHG is filled with students who are great role models," said Rini Christofilakos-Soler, SHG's drug and alcohol prevention coordinator. "We wanted this year's theme to encourage the kids to be good influences on each other."

Students at SHG will dress in all red on Tuesday to show their support of drug and alcohol prevention.

Wednesday is "Don't be a Statistic Day." Fifty students will walk the halls in all black to represent the people who die in drunk driving crashes each week. These students are also not to communicate with others throughout the day. One large cross will be placed in the courtyard in memory of the 2,395 individuals killed in alcohol-related crashes each year.

Thursday will focus on suicide prevention awareness. Dr. William Moredock will talk to the students about the signs of suicidal behavior, and the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program will be introduced to the entire student body.

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Various forms of health information will be available to the students on Friday. A representative from the Sojourn Outreach Center will discuss domestic violence. Julia Ford with the Illinois Institute for Addictions and Recovery will be available to discuss drug and alcohol addiction, and the American Lung Association will have material explaining the dangers of smoking.

Other activities of the week will include contests and prizes at lunch; a contest for the best anti-drug, anti-alcohol slogans; and a crazy tie, crazy sock day on Thursday.

"Red Ribbon Week is the perfect way for teenagers to show that not everyone is doing drugs or drinking," Christofilakos-Soler said. "This is a really fun week for the kids. It's a really good feeling to see the halls filled with kids dressed in red from head to toe and know that they are having a good influence on each other."

Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 in memory of Enrique Camarena, an undercover special agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration who was killed by drug traffickers in Mexico. Friends and neighbors rallied to support drug and alcohol awareness, pledged to lead drug-free lives to honor the sacrifices made by Camarena and others, and wore red satin ribbons in his memory. From that background emerged the national campaign known as Red Ribbon Week.

[Sacred Heart-Griffin news release]

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