A crowd of 600 pre-kindergarten through eighth graders, teachers, dignitaries, Buffalo Bills players and friends of prevention took part in the "Red Ribbon Rally" at Discovery Lovejoy School #43 in Buffalo on Tuesday, October 13th.
WNY United, the Buffalo Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and members of the school's "Leaders In Training" team of students joined Buffalo Bills team members and rallied the students to "Join the Drug-Free Team."
Bills players, including defensive end Ryan Denney, linebacker Keith Ellison, wide receiver C.J. Hawthorne, running back Fred Jackson and safety John Wendling, spoke to the students and encouraged them to make good decisions and stay away from drugs .
"National Red Ribbon Week" is the most visible time of year for the substance abuse prevention efforts. It is a time of conferences, rallies, parades, demonstrations, contests and school assemblies. All of these events serve to encourage young people to avoid abusing drugs.
People from all walks of life will wear and display red ribbons to remember Enrique Camarena, a DEA Agent killed by drug lords in 1985, and show their commitments to prevention efforts and leading lives free of substance abuse.
WNY United will use the rally at School #43 to promote several other activities. The annual essay contest and coloring activity drew nearly 2,300 participants last year. They will also promote a "Giant Red Ribbon" activity in which schools have their students show their commitment to staying drug-free by signing red banners that measure 3 feet in height and 5 feet in width. These banners are collected and attached together to form one ribbon of impressive proportions.
This year, WNY United hopes to have twenty-two schools complete the activity and then all the ribbons will be assembled together to create the "Giant Red Ribbon". That ribbon will appear in several locations over the next year and it will be presented to the Drug Czar in Washington DC.
For more information, visit wnyunited.org.