Seeing Red

by Christine June
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

***image1***Stephanie Leiker, Kaiserslautern American Middle School eighth grader, and eight fellow committee members tallied up ideas from their friends to make their school’s Red Ribbon Week a success.

“We heard from our friends and we took that into consideration and made the week what they wanted,” said Stephanie, committee chairperson.

National Red Ribbon Week took place this year throughout the KMC from Oct. 20 to Oct. 28. This observance encourages everyone to take a visible stand against drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Participants usually sign pledges and wear red ribbons to show their personal commitment to a healthy, substance-free lifestyle.

The trick is to make it fun and get students involved to show that there are lots of fun things to do without drugs, said Jacqueline Frawley, KAMS’ Adolescent Substance Abuse Counseling Service counselor, a contractor with the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern.

“It went great. The students participated very actively and with a lot of enthusiasm,” said Ms. Frawley. “It’s nice to see children take a leadership position in an event like this.”

Events at KAMS included themes for each school day during the week such as pajama day and twin day. The school’s red ribbon observance ended Saturday with a Halloween dance.

Activities like the ones at KAMS took place during the week-long observance at the middle and high schools. There was also community involvement to show their support to the students on living a substance-free lifestyle, said Heather Robinson, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern’s Army Substance Abuse Program prevention coordinator.

For the first year, the garrison sponsored a community-wide event – Red Ribbon Relay – that took place Saturday at the track near the Vogelweh Commissary.

“Great event – 265 people throughout the KMC ran around the track with at total of 6,841 laps,” said Mrs. Robinson, who added that this event will continue next year. “It was a solid community effort from the entire KMC.”