Red Ribbon Week
Garland County CARES helps schools celebrate
Garland County Coalition for Addiction, Recovery, Education, and Support is promoting drug prevention by helping school districts in the county organize Red Ribbon Week celebrations.
Garland County CARES coordinator Tonna Butzlaff said the organization, for the sixth year, is helping parents and schools “deliver an effective drug prevention curriculum.”
“We promote Red Ribbon Week as an awareness campaign,” she said. “It gets the information to the general public about the dangers of drug abuse.”
Butzlaff said Red Ribbon Week, which takes place Oct. 23-31 this year, is designed “to be an experiential learning lesson for the students and adults. They work together on activities to develop a sense of purpose.”
Butzlaff said some of the districts’ activities include dressup days, planting red tulips and prevention rallies. She said each of the seven districts will display red pin wheels, with about 3,000 ordered by the organization.
“We always like to let them (school districts) know we are here and available with any resources to come out and talk to the students,” she said, adding that different programs are designed for different age levels.
Butzlaff said she encourages parents to ask questions and build a strong relationship with their children, and encourages parents to take a pledge about drug abuse prevention.
“We really like to stress to parents to talk to their kids,” she said. “I think that is the most important thing they can do.”
Butzlaff said she encourages each school district to have students take the Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment Survey, a free anonymous questionnaire offered to sixth-, eighth-, 10thand 12th-graders.
“They take the survey once a year, and the results are sent to the schools,” she said. “The schools take that information and know what they need to work on and attend to. We’re so fortunate in Garland County because all seven school districts participate.”
Butzlaff said the organization also works with the Garland County Sheriff’s Department on its prescription drug take-back program and installed a permanent drop site earlier this year for unused medication.