The Story Behind the Red Ribbon
By Shanda Schmidt, Mason Elementary/Jr. High Counselor
Red Ribbon Week is here, so I wanted to take a moment to talk about what Red Ribbon Week symbolizes. We dress up and do fun activities at school, but I know there must be those out there that wonder what Red Ribbon Week is really all about.
The story begins over sixty years ago….
Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was born July 26, 1947. Kiki grew up in a dirt-floored house with hopes and dreams of making a difference. Camarena worked his way through college, he served in the United States Marines and then became a police officer. When he decided to join the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, his mother tried to talk him out of it. “I can’t not do this,” he told her. “I’m only one person, but I want to make a difference.”
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sent Camarena to work undercover in Mexico investigating a major drug cartel. This cartel was believed to include officers in the Mexican army, the police and the Mexican government. On February 7, 1985, the 37 year-old, Enrique left his office to meet his wife for lunch. Five men appeared at the agent’s side and shoved him in a car. Camarena was never seen alive again.
In Camarena’s memory and in honor of his battle against illegal drugs, friends and neighbors began to wear red badges of satin. Parents, sick of the destruction that alcohol and other drugs had caused, began forming coalitions. Some of these new coalitions took Camarena as their role model and embraced his belief that one person can make a difference, and wore red ribbons.
Since the first Red Ribbon Campaign in 1988, the campaign has reached millions of U.S. children. Please keep this story close to your heart, because we can all make a difference. Parents, grandparents and guardians are the #1 weapon we have in keeping our kids drug free. Talk to your children about not using drugs, they will listen. If you would like more information on how to help your children, you can visit, “Parents, the Antidrug”, at www.theantidrug.com.
Thank you for all you do for our kids, it truly makes a difference! Please feel free to dress up with the kids during red ribbon week!
References: www.imdrugfree.com and www.redribboncoalition.com
Keeping Your Kids DRUG-FREE
It’s not pestering
Know what your children are doing
Praise and reward good behavior
Keep lines of communication open
First, YOU LISTEN
Then you talk
Take the time!
Monday – Put a CAP on Drugs! Wear your favorite hat or cap!
Tuesday – SOCK it to Drugs! Wear crazy socks!
Wednesday – The HUNT is on… AGAINST drugs! Wear camouflage!
Thursday – We are WILD about being drug free! Wear animal print!
Friday- TEAM up against drugs! Wear your favorite sports attire!