Pubdate: Wed, 22 Oct 2008
Source: Redlands Daily Facts (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Newspaper group
Author: Miranda C.R. White
Bookmark: (Red Ribbon Week)


REDLANDS - Students throughoutthe Redlands Unified School District 
are wearing red, having assemblies and being educated on the dangers 
of drugs and alcohol to celebrate Red Ribbon Week from Oct. 20 to Oct. 31.

Ileana Reyes, director of sales and marketing for Informed Families, 
said the event definitely makes a difference when kids are making 
choices about whether they will use drugs.

"After 23 years, it is still an ideal way for people and communities 
to unite and take a visible stand against drugs," Reyes said. "(They) 
show their personal commitment to a drug-free lifestyle through the 
symbol of the red ribbon."

She said Red Ribbon Week was developed in memory of the torture and 
death of Kiki Camarena, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, in 
Mexico in 1985. Camarena went through college, served in the Marines 
and became a police officer, Reyes said.

"When he decided to join the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, 
his mother tried to talk him out of it," Reyes said. "'I'm only one 
person,' he told her, 'but I want to make a difference."'

Camarena was sent to work undercover in Mexico by the DEA to 
investigate a major drug cartel that was believed to include officers 
in the Mexican army, police and government, Reyes said.

"On Feb. 7, 1985, the 37-year-old Camarena left his office to meet 
his wife for lunch," Reyes said. "Five men appeared at the agent's 
side and shoved him in a car. One month later, Camarena's body was 
found. He had been tortured to death."

Reyes said that in honor of his memory and his fight against illegal 
drugs, his friends and some neighbors began wearing red satin badges.

"Parents, sick of the destruction of alcohol and other drugs, had 
begun forming coalitions," Reyes said. "The National Family 
Partnership organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign."

The campaign has reached millions of children and families in the 
United States since then, Reyes said.

"The National Family Partnership and its network of individuals and 
organizations continue to deliver his message of hope to millions of 
people every year, through the National Red Ribbon Campaign," Reyes said.

She said people should support the national theme, which this year is 
"Step It Up: A Call to Action."

"A theme unifies each year's campaign to broadcast one message 
creating a tipping point to change behavior," Reyes said.

People throughout Redlands were asked what Red Ribbon Week means to 
them, and if they believe it is making a difference.

Louisa Kay, 44, Yucaipa

"It's just awareness against drugs, and for children to be aware of 
the dangers of drugs. I think so. To a certain percentage, they'll 
remember the events at school."

Sheena Alves, 20, Redlands

"I think it's a traditional method to keep kids off drugs and be 
excited about being drug free and educate them on what drugs do. My 
niece is in Kingsbury (Elementary School) and she's all happy. Every 
day she comes home and is all excited about it. It teaches them early 
what drugs do. They get real excited about it real young."

Sherry Considine, 45, Yucaipa

"Educating children about the hazards of drugs. It was effective with 
my own children. It gave them knowledge on the negative effects of drugs."

Andrue Ramirez, 21, Redlands

"No. I guess it's not out there enough. (I went to) Redlands High School."

When asked if he remembered the event in school, he said, "Not that I 
can remember." When asked if it was effective, he said, "In some 
cases, yes. But I think we need more after school programs to keep 
kids busy and away from the bad crowd."

Jessica Whiteside, 22, San Bernardino

"Yeah, because they teach about the bad things about drugs. I guess 
not because I wouldn't have done them anyway."

Danica Allison, 27, Riverside

"It is a promotion of a drug-free environment and it makes learning 
about staying drug free fun for kids. I think it's encouraging and 
sets a good example."

Ligia Marinel, 24, Loma Linda

"I remember just pledging to be drug free. I remember the DARE (Drug 
Abuse Resistance Education) program. I remember an officer coming out 
and riding in the police car. It was exciting because we weren't in 
trouble. Back then, I don't think a lot of people were really into 
drugs. I think it pertains much to the youth these days. I know a lot 
of people were exposed to it, but you just hear a lot more about it 
these days. You hear a lot about kids who don't have a lot of other 
opportunities. It's a curiosity thing when it's in the house. You try 
it and you get yourself in trouble. I think it's important to expose 
the young to other possibilities who might not know better."

Amanda Mauk, 20, Redlands

"Drug free is the way to be. Nowadays I wouldn't know. When I went to 
school it probably would. The kids are bad these days. There's a lot 
of drugs out there."

Raquel Genera, 20, San Bernardino

"Drug free. No, not at all. Maybe to little kids. Just because of the 
way life is these days. Media and bad parents. No one ever listens to 
their parents."

Erica Brown, 25, Redlands

"(It is) a time for the community to express its concern regarding a 
drug free environment. I think it was by community according to 
parent involvement. The public schools can do the Red Ribbon Week, 
but unless it's being reinforced at home, that's when I think it 
varies according to each community."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom