2017-04-20 / Community

TA to present 'Red Ribbon Week' for students

SACO — To steer the community toward healthy behaviors, the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club’s Red Ribbon Committee is focusing its efforts on preventing young people from slipping into the devastating grip of drug misuse and addiction.

National Red Ribbon Week is a program originated by the National Family Partnership (formerly the National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth).

Thornton Academy's Red Ribbon Week activities, sponsored by the Rotary, will take place during the week of April 24 to April 28. The program will include daily activities for students that are oriented toward encouraging healthy behaviors, specifically education about the potential for harm brought about by the use of illegal drugs and other substances.

“Our goal is to serve as a catalyst to mobilize communities, educate youth, and encourage participation in drug prevention activities,” said Red Ribbon Committee Co-Chair, Rotarian, and Thornton Academy alum Jim Godbout. “We all recognize drug misuse is at epidemic proportions in our country. It costs our country billions of dollars each year through tax dollars, so we are all affected directly or indirectly. I applaud the schools for working collaboratively together and with our Rotary Club, and I invite everyone to join us in a culture of change from acceptance of drug misuse in its many forms to all community members living lives of health, wellbeing, and joy.”

Red Ribbon Week activities include:

All week at Thornton Academy Middle School: Age and stage-appropriate education/prevention activities will be held during the daily advisory program for all middle school students.

Monday, April 24: Red Ribbon Week will be introduced at a school meeting. The TA Players will assist by presenting a brief original video that depicts the possible consequences of poor decision making.

Monday, April 24 and Tuesday, April 25: There will be a “distracted driving” simulator activity for upper school students.  Wellness students, as well as those who are interested and have a study hall, may participate. Students who are licensed for driving will have the supervised opportunity to drive a golf cart on a course while wearing goggles that simulate impaired driving. Unlicensed students can participate via a simulation on a computer console.

Wednesday, April 26: An abbreviated schedule will be held so as to devote the last hour of the day to addressing students’ wellbeing, both physical and mental. An online survey will allow students to choose among a variety of “Get Active” activities (such as ballroom dancing, yoga, dodgeball, healthy cooking, softball, street funk dance, and improv). The entire upper school will gather in the Quad at the end of the day for a final celebration.

Thursday, April 27: During the school day: Bob Lapete has lived with a brain injury for 32 years, the results of a drunk driving accident.  He will speak with seniors about his life, and about making good choices and the possible consequences of poor ones.  This program is for seniors only. In the evening: Parents and community members are invited to a program in Garland Auditorium, starting at 6:30 PM, to hear several speakers from area agencies discuss trends in drug use and its effects, and the potential for effective community response. And opportunity for questions and answers will follw the presentation.

Thursday, April 27: Bronwyn Barnett and the students in the Toastmasters Club from the Community Bicycle Center will speak about making healthy choices; Bill Paterson of Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition’s Project Alliance will speak on Marijuana and the Adolescent Brain; Ryan Esbjerg of Flex Your Face University will speak on their unending goal to ignite people's lives through the celebration of small moments in their day; and the top three student T-shirt design winners will be presented with their cash prize awards. Thornton Academy student Ann Ho '18 won first and second place; Thornton Academy student Tobias Pydych '19 won third place. The contest was open to students from Thornton Academy, Biddeford, and Old Orchard Beach. 

Friday, April 28:  A group of teens from York High School have formed a group called TIDALWAVSE (“Teens In Drug Awareness Leading Working and Valuing Self-Esteem”). As chemical free ambassadors for their community, these young people participate in many anti-drug initiatives. They will talk with our freshmen and sophomores to promote healthy choices and to share the power of student advocacy.

Please note: Any parent who wishes to “opt out” their student from participating may contact Ms. Truman in the Associate Head’s office (282-3361, ext. 4404).  Students who opt out will attend their regularly scheduled classes.

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