Red Ribbon Week addresses substance abuse

The issue of substance abuse is being addressed in classrooms across the country and in the Upper Peninsula this week.

It’s called Red Ribbon Week.

The week at Westwood High School is used to teach substance abuse prevention for elementary to high school students.  Teachers, with help from students, organized the events.

One way to learn about the dangers of substance abuse is through a series of games.

“The activity games are based on the concept of what alcohol and drugs do to your physical ability to interact,” Westwood High School guidance counselor Larry Boburka said. “One game we are playing is a game of catch.  Kids are wearing fatal vision goggles and they’re trying to toss a pillow to each other, to try and make sure they can still catch it.”

Helping the events come together is the Marquette County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, or MC2.

MC2 provided the schools with educational materials, ribbons and free giveaways.

Other schools participating include Ishpeming High School, Marquette Alternative High School, and Gwinn High School.

Red Ribbon Week started in the mid 1980’s by the National Family Partnership and has since become a national week of observance for substance abuse prevention among youth.  This year’s theme is “A Healthy Me is Drug Free” and the dates of observance are October 23rd through the 30th. The Marquette County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (MC2) is providing participating area schools with Red Ribbon Week bins, which are full of RRW materials, educational materials, ribbons, and give-aways.  The school groups are tasked with putting on activities to commemorate the week with technical assistance provided by MC2 coalition members.

Participating schools include: Westwood High School, Ishpeming High and Middle School, Marquette Alternative High School, and Gwinn High School.  Westwood High School will be putting on a lunchtime activity on Wednesday involving impaired goggles and on Friday will be doing the “Every 15 minutes” activity which will involve the whole school. The Ishpeming Middle School’s Student Council has a week of activities planned to involve their classmates (see attached sheet).  Gwinn High School’s Youth Advisory Council will have a table in their cafeteria offering the promotional items as well as providing education to their fellow classmates.  The Council is also planning to be set up for the middle school lunch time.