This past week, Hebrew Academy participated in the annual Red Ribbon Week spearheaded by school psychologist Dr. London. Red Ribbon is a campaign that is known to be the biggest drug use prevention initiative in the nation. The point of this campaign is to influence younger people in school that may go through the challenges of the times of their lives where they have to face drugs and alcohol. The goal is to influence and educate teenagers on how to help create the environment of having drug alcohol free children. Schools have participated in this campaign because students these days may face drugs and such and having a week dedicated to educating youth on the effects and dangers may prevent them from getting themselves in a bad situation. Red Ribbon has been running since 1985, the longest running drug prevention campaign.
"Red Ribbon Week is so important because it's a way for us to provide relevant and timely education on the consequences of using drugs and alcohol as adolescents, a time in a young person's life when they're especially vulnerable to experimentation with substances and becoming addicted," explained Dr. London . "I wish that Red Ribbon Week was not just a once a year program but rather a continuous dialogue that we could have with our students throughout the year. "
In order to spread this message, Dr. London created a new slogan called “Just say NOt yet”, a spin on the Reagan initiative, “Just say No ''. At first, there was a lot of commotion about this year’s slogan as students wondered why it said “NOt yet” rather than “never”. The reason for this leads mainly towards the side of alcohol and marijuana. Alcohol is legal in the United States while marijuana varies depending on the state. So, this saying is advising students to wait until they are older and more mature to make better decisions for themselves and their health. This saying does NOT apply to all substances since many drugs are plainly illegal, so the answer to this is to say “no, never.”
Sophomore Adina Krinsky explained how she was impacted by Red Ribbon Week: “At first I didn't understand the slogan, but now that I know what it means and the importance of making better decisions when you're older, I will definitely think twice”.
Throughout the week, she has been educating the students on the effects that drugs and alcohol can have on teenage students, and how they can permanently damage lives. Each day, a candy was given out with a message of statistics taped on the back. For example, London gave out red lollipops with a statistic about the young brain versus adult brain. The following day, Justin Tait, a physical therapist, spoke about his experience in a horrible accident caused by drunk driving. His story moved everyone in the audience as they were able to see the consequences of just one bad decision. To finish off the week, the advisory period was dedicated to educating students on the dangers of abusing substances, specifically vaping.
"Red Ribbon Week taught me the significance of how bad it is to get in a car while under the influence and how it can affect your life. It taught me the effect weed can have on me at such a young age, and why I should wait until later to use it” said Ava Turetsky (11th).
Overall, this Red Ribbon week left the lasting impression on numerous students to be responsible with drugs and alcohol.
By: Mariel Barnes (9th)