Washougal WA – Students in Washougal middle schools celebrated 2017 Red Ribbon Week on Oct 23-31, taking part in fun and educational activities focused on drug prevention and making healthy choices.
“The campaign serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities and schools to educate youth and take a visible stand against drugs,” said Wendy Butler, Educational Services District Prevention Intervention Specialist at Jemtegaard and Canyon Creek Middle Schools. This year’s theme was: Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free™
“We use this week to build community,” said Butler. “We want the students to understand they are a part of the big picture and it is important to support each other in making good decisions.”
Butler lead several interactive games during school lunch hours to get students talking about the effects of drugs and ways to avoid their use. “One game used a large spinning wheel with various activities listed that people choose as their natural high,” Butler explained. “Students spin the wheel and are then asked to describe how that activity is enjoyable even if it is not something they do. They begin to understand that there are many different interests and favorite things that can draw people away from drug use.” Prizes given to students who participated were donated by UNITE Washougal Coalition, a group of citizens and educators that work on drug prevention initiative in Washougal.
Students will also be taking part in a new activity called Planting the Promise. “JMS and Columbia River Gorge Elementary are coming together to build community through tulip planting,” explained Butler. “A group of 6th graders will be working with the 5th graders to plant red tulip bulbs that will grow into vibrant red flowers to serve as a reminder of their pledge to remain drug free.”
Butler is optimistic that students hear the messages of Red Ribbon Week and understand that living drug-free can help them reach their full potential.