Be kind to your mind, live drug free

Be Kind to your mind, live drug free. The October 2023 school year motto representing red ribbon week highlights the intent towards a healthy drug free life.

“Red Ribbon week is celebrated every October, and the last week of October, Red ribbon week initially was founded after Enrique (Kiki) Camarena’s tragedy, it's a week when we take time to look at his work and help motivate students towards living a drug free life”, stated by Mrs. Salinas, the Jimmy Carter Early College Counselor 

As important as the origin of Red Ribbon week is, students need to understand how it affects them as individuals and how it's not just an event but recognition towards Kiki Camarena.

“Red Ribbon week began due to DEA Agent Kiki Camarena, how he suffered, and how his family and everybody he knew were affected by not just people using drugs but people who were selling drugs and distributing them”

As an American, he became a victim without using drugs, and according to Mrs. Robles, a junior high school teacher and dual enrollment educator, "I think students need to know because it's a part of their history, not just as latino students but also as Americans, and they need to be aware that drugs don't just affect users; they also affect people who work in the same sector.”

During the month of October Jimmy Carter counselor Mrs. Salinas and fellow class officers gather around to plan events towards the Red Ribbon Week to bring light into Enrique Camarena's tragic story and spread the message Red Ribbon Week holds.

“This year were planning things a little different, speaking to the student council president, she has sat down with me and we talked about what we have done in the past so we can better serve our students and trying to get more participation this school year, I can say that this year we will have our first talent show," stated Mrs. Salinas

Going into October with our talent show “Hook on talent not on drugs” Jimmy Carter High School teacher and Dual enrollment instructor Mr. Robles recognizes her contribution as a student towards red ribbon week and now plans on speaking to her students as an educator, and highlighting the importance of living drug free.

“I think I've always been engage in red ribbon week since I started school when I was a student, there was always something fun to do and it was interesting. Initially I wanted to do criminal justice, it's something I still continue to do and I think this year one of the things I want to work on is making sure my students have ribbons and helping out with pep rallies to celebrate it and to just bring awareness as well as giving my students a mini lesson on the significance and background of Red Ribbon Week," stated by Mrs. Robles

According to Mrs. Robles, "I think a lot of times students know Red Ribbon Week by just the week where we wear red and talk about not using drugs, but they don't really know why they came about, the background, and that's something I would like to talk about with them."

Red Ribbon week isn't a celebration, it's more of informing individuals on the wrong and negative effects drugs bring on to us and as far as it goes our education system uses this week for students to feel comfortable and speak up and if individuals are in need of help they feel supported by the community around them.

“As a student I did see positive outcomes not so much anymore because when I was a kid and we were celebrating Red Ribbon Week it was a big event we had speakers the whole week come in, the border patrol would come, they would bring their trucks, their dogs, DEA would come, they would have presentations, CBP would come they would bring the helicopters, the fire department would come and we would get to interact with all these peoples," Stated Mrs. Robles 

Although we take time out of our day to have events for these types of occasional situations, I do believe students are not well educated on Red Ribbon week simply due to the fact not much is done to educate individuals besides wearing red, having a little bit of pride, and if more was done more people would be impacted.

“I think that was really impactful because kids looked up to these people and aspired to be like them. Now it's like we have other things to do. Let's get over it. That's how it feels sometimes," said Mrs. Robles. 

"We could get on the trucks and learn what they did and how they were fighting the drug war and talk to people who were victims toward previous drug addicts or who were related to drugs,” stated Mrs. Robles

Students in Jimmy Carter Early College look forward to encouraging these events that are taking place in red ribbon week and encourage their peers to join in the fun.

“I engage by participating on red ribbon week by dressing up and pairing up against drugs with a friend on twin day” states Angelica Martinez a senior class officer

“An activity would be to wear your favorite crocs, flops or slide taking a step into the right direction,” stated Angelica Martinez

Spreading the message about red ribbon week gives comfort to those going through any sort of substance abuse. Bringing comfort and light towards helping high school students.

“There is help and the help you need is out there; all you have to do is speak up and let us know what kind of assistance you need. "Help is out there, now more than ever. During COVID you had some different organizations that went to help doing it virtually, students started feeling comfortable being at home and being able to get this help that they need even if it's from their own home," said Mrs. Salinas

“Be Kind to Your Mind, Live Drug-Free” is the October 2023 school year motto, symbolizing Red Ribbon Week’s commitment to promoting a healthy, drug-free life.

“I think that was really impactful because kids looked up to these people and aspired to be like them. Now it’s like we have other things to do. Let’s get over it. That’s how it feels sometimes,” commented English teacher Thania Robles.

Red Ribbon Week is an annual celebration every October, founded in remembrance of DEA Agent Enrique (Kiki) Camarena. It is a week dedicated to honoring his work and inspiring students to lead drug-free lives, as Ana Salinas, the Jimmy Carter Early College Counselor explains.

“Red Ribbon Week originated in response to the tragic events surrounding DEA Agent Kiki Camarena, his suffering, and the impact on his family and associates. It sheds light on drug users and those involved in drug distribution,” stated Ms. Robles, a junior high school teacher and dual enrollment educator.

Beyond recognizing its historical origin, students must comprehend the personal significance of Red Ribbon Week in their lives.

“Red Ribbon Week ” is a tribute to DEA Agent Kiki Camarena, highlighting his ordeal and its broader impact. It is essential for our students, as Latinos and Americans, to recognize that drugs affect users and individuals within the same community,” Ms. Robles emphasized.

Throughout October, Jimmy Carter counselor Mrs. Salinas and fellow class officers come together to organize events that shed light on Enrique Camarena’s tragic story and convey the message of Red Ribbon Week.

“This year, we are adopting a different approach. Collaborating with the student council president, we have reevaluated our past initiatives to serve our students better. We are introducing our first talent show this school year,” announced Mrs. Salinas.

Entering October with the theme “Hook on Talent, Not on Drugs,” Jimmy Carter High School teacher and Dual Enrollment instructor Mr. Robles acknowledges her past involvement as a student in Red Ribbon Week. She now plans to educate her students about the importance of living a drug-free life.

“I have actively participated in Red Ribbon Week since my school days. It has always offered engaging and interesting activities. While my initial career interest was criminal justice, I continue supporting this cause. This year, I aim to ensure my students have ribbons and actively contribute to pep rallies, raising awareness and providing a brief lesson on the historical and symbolic significance of Red Ribbon Week,” shared Ms. Robles.

Ms. Robles added, “Students often associate Red Ribbon Week with wearing red and discussing drug avoidance, but they may not fully grasp its historical context. I want to address this gap in their knowledge.”

Red Ribbon Week goes beyond mere celebration; it serves as a means to inform individuals about the adverse effects of drugs. This week, The educational system encourages students to feel comfortable discussing these issues and seek support when needed.

“As a student, I witnessed positive outcomes, although the scale may have diminished over the years. Red Ribbon Week was a grand affair during my childhood, featuring guest speakers, presentations, and visits from various agencies, including the Border Patrol, DEA, CBP, and the fire department. We had the opportunity to interact with all these professionals,” Ms. Robles recounted.

While events are organized during Red Ribbon Week, there is room for further education to maximize its impact.

“We could explore activities like visiting agency vehicles and understanding their roles in the fight against drug abuse. We could also engage with individuals affected by drug addiction, including former addicts and their families,” suggested Ms. Robles.

Jimmy Carter Early College students eagerly anticipate these Red Ribbon Week events and encourage their peers to participate actively.

“I engage in Red Ribbon Week by dressing up and teaming up with a friend to support our ‘Pair Up Against Drugs’ theme on Twin Day,” shared Angelica Martinez, a senior class officer.

“Another activity involves wearing your favorite crocs, flip-flops, or slides—a symbolic step in the right direction,” added Angelica Martinez.

Spreading the message about Red Ribbon Week provides solace to those dealing with substance abuse issues, bringing comfort and support to high school students.

“There is help available, and all you need to do is reach out and communicate your needs. Assistance is more accessible than ever, with different organizations offering virtual support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students have found comfort in seeking help from the safety of their homes,” emphasized Mrs. Salinas.

I am 17 years old, I am a current Junior at Jimmy Carter Early College, I enjoy writing, Writing has always been a passion of mine.