McGruff the Crime Dog hands out red ribbons to students as they enter C.C. Pinckney Elementary School Oct. 24 as part of Red Ribbon Week. (Photo by Robert Timmons)

Jackson, schools partner to keep kids off drugs

By Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Fort Jackson and the Department of Defense Education Activity partnered to help students live drug free lives during Red Ribbon Week.

Red Ribbon week takes place every year from Oct 23-31. The mission of the Red Ribbon Campaign is to keep students drug free.

Antoinette Pittman, Pinckney school counselor collaborated with the Army Substance Abuse Program representative, Davita Hampton, to plan the school activities every year, characters, and the culminating celebration/prizes.

“It is important to remember the dangers of alcohol and drugs which have destroyed lives, families, and communities,” Hampton wrote in an article for the Leader. “Children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are less likely to use drugs than those who don’t.”

Fort Jackson’s ASAP Program is partnering with the DODEA schools and CYS to host several activities for Red Ribbon Week. All the events will focus on bringing awareness to the youth and Fort Jackson community about the benefits of being drug free.

2022 Red Ribbon week activities included – Poster Contest, incorporating, the theme “Celebrate Life, Live Drug Free.”

This year’s theme of “Celebrate Life. Live Drug Free” was created by Emily King, Chelsea Abbott, and Celise Wicker, 7th graders at Wayland-Cohocton Middle School in Wayland, New York. The Red Ribbon campaign allows students to create a theme each year and share it on their website.

The class with the most entries and one winner per grade level, will attend the ice cream party.

Other events were:

“Celebrate Life & Live Drug Free” – Students and staff wore red and a party hat as we are “Hats off to Drugs” Oct. 24 and each student received a red ribbon.

“Too Cool for Drugs” – On Oct. 25, students and staff wore their coolest outfit.

“Team up against Drugs” – On Oct. 26, students and staff wore their favorite team jersey or t-shirt.

“Drug Free Uni-vers-i-tee” – On Oct. 27, students and staff wore their college gear.

“Peace-Out to Drugs” – On Oct. 28, students and staff wore tie-dyed attire. The poster contest winners were announced at the Child, Youth Services Fall Festival.

On Oct. 31, students and faculty could take part in an optional “Halloween Door Decorating & Costume Day.”

Finally on Nov. 2 an ice cream party was held for the winners.

(Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol issues, please reach out for help. Civilians and Family Members may contact the Employee Assistance Program at 751-5007. Service members can call Substance Use Disorder Clinical Care at (803) 757-5911.)