AREA YOUTH SAY BOO TO DRUGS IN CELEBRATION OF RED RIBBON WEEK
This past weekend, hundreds of youth and adults from the Greater Clearwater area found a unique way to say "Boo" to drugs in a Halloween weekend celebrating a drug free life.
This past weekend, hundreds of youth and adults from the Greater Clearwater area found a unique way to say "Boo" to drugs in a Halloween weekend celebrating a drug free life. Sponsored by the Foundation for a Drug Free World and held in coordination with local groups such as the North Greenwood Coalition, the Community Learning Center, the Clearwater Fire and Rescue, Pinellas County Sheriff's Department, and The Way to Happiness of Tampa Bay and national official groups such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Guard, Clearwater residents learned about drugs in two separate events held on each day of the weekend about 1 mile apart.
First on Saturday October the 25th, over 300 children and their parents spent hours at the North Greenwood Aquatic Center at which activities related to Drug awareness and education were presented in a fun and entertaining fashion. A DJ, dancing, arts and crafts and face painting were enjoyed by the kids and in keeping with the season - a Halloween costume contest.
The Children were sworn in as Drug-Free Marshals, given badges and red ribbons in recognition of Red Ribbon Week. The Drug Free Marshal Program, started in response to the overwhelming response to the Say NO to Drugs say Yes to Life Program addresses younger children and gives them a vehicle by which they can learn about drugs and their effects and do something about it in their communities. Red Ribbon Week is a National Program organized to teach youth how to present Drug Awareness in a fun and enjoyable manner.
In addition to the various forms of entertainment and the goodie bags that said Say Boo to Drugs, a volunteer from the National Guard awed kids with two lungs - one a smoker's lung, the other a healthy lung. Reactions varied from "Wow!" to "Ewwww!" but all were impressed by the devastating effects drugs can have on the body, generating a flood of questions from the youth.
On Sunday, the 26th, a group of about 100 people, mostly teens, met in downtown Clearwater at the historic Clearwater Bank Building and learnt shocking facts and statistics from the Fire Department, DEA, Sheriff's Department and the National Guard. The purpose of the event was to enlist the help of young people in doing something about the widespread and devastating effects of drugs in our communities. And in that regard, former drug user and graduate of the drug rehabilitation program Narconon showed the kids what they can do to help their friends get away from drugs. The panel of drug abuse and prevention experts who addressed the youth, included, Special Agent Bob Quinn from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Lieutenant Anthony Tedesco with the Clearwater Fire and Rescue Department, Lieutenant Robert Alfonso of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and First Lieutenant Nathan Dinger with Florida National Guard Drug Demand Reduction program. Each panelist spoke about his own experiences in the war on drugs, followed by a lively question and answer period evoking thoughtful questions from the teens.
"We have a responsibility to our future to handle the problems of drug abuse among youth who will one day be the leaders," said Julieta Santagostino, President of the Florida chapter of Foundation for a Drug-Free World.
J.T. Daily, Director of Drug Education for Narconon Arrowhead, a drug rehabilitation facility in Oklahoma, spoke to the group about his own experience as a former drug addict and about how the young people can talk to others about drugs. The youth performed skits addressing various situations they might run into related to drugs and how they would handle these.
A series of emotionally impacting video public service announcements from the Foundation for a Drug-Free World were shown. Each PSA demonstrated a strong message to dispel the false information and provide the truth about drugs.
Red Ribbon Week
Every year, Red Ribbon Week Celebration brings millions of people together to raise awareness regarding the need for alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention, early intervention, and treatment services. It is the largest, most visible drug prevention and awareness campaign observed annually in the United States.
What is The Foundation for a Drug-Free World?
The Foundation for a Drug-Free World is a secular, non-profit organization. It was established to meet the increasing demand for the international "Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life" drug prevention program, which has been conducted around the world for more than 20 years by members of Scientology churches in collaboration with the interfaith community, volunteer organizations, educational institutions and government agencies.
The purpose of the Foundation is to empower youth and adults with the facts about drugs so they can make an informed decision to say no, and help others make the same decision. To find out more about the Foundation for a Drug-Free World you can go to www.drugfree
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