Red Ribbon Week, the annual celebration encouraging young people to stay away from drugs and violence, will be held from Saturday, Oct. 19 to Sunday, Oct. 27. The event has been sponsored for the last 24 years by the Parker Area Alliance for Community Empowerment. An organizational meeting was held Aug. 28 at Players Ninth Street Youth Center.

The theme chosen for this year was “Make Drugs a Thing of the Past,” featuring a dinosaur logo similar to the one used in the movie, “Jurassic Park.” PAACE Executive Director Randy Hartless thanked Outreach Coordinator Courtney Kom for coming up with the idea.

The local events for the week will start with a parade Oct. 19 in Bouse. Hartless remarked at the Aug. 28 meeting that not a lot of people watch the parade in Bouse because so many of the community’s residents are participating in it.

The week will end with Family Fun Day from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27 at Pop Harvey Park. Family Fun Day will feature booths from public service agencies and service clubs, as well as activities, raffles and give-aways for children and youth. All activities for young people at this event must be free. The goal is to encourage them to be drug-free.

Kom said it’s okay for someone to promote their business or agency, but the activities for the youngsters must be free.

Hartless said they need to know as soon as possible which agencies and businesses want to have booths at Family Fun Day. He said there is electricity available at Pop Harvey Park, but it’s very limited.

Planned activities during the week include a business-decorating contest, a door-decorating contest for the schools, and assemblies and presentations for students. The doors and businesses will be judged Thursday, Oct. 24. To participate in the business contest, an entry form needs to be filled out and sent to PAACE by Oct. 21.

Hartless said the dinosaur logo design will keep costs down because, when it’s printed on either red or black t-shirts, it will use only two colors. He said it would be three colors if they printed on white shirts, but he said white shirts haven’t sold well in the past.

PAACE is looking for sponsors for the event. They need to have commitments from all sponsors by Sept. 23. Sponsors will be recognized on tee-shirts and posters printed for Red Ribbon Week. For $25, a sponsor can have his or her name on the back of the tee-shirt. For $100, the name will be listed in bold print. A donation of $500 or more will have a sponsor’s logo printed on the tee-shirts and the posters.

Kom asked those present and other sponsors from previous years to let them know if their logo has changed from the last time they were a sponsor. If it has, she asked they send her an updated version of the logo. She said the posters will feature full-color logos, while the t-shirt logos will be black only.

Tee-shirt order forms will be available at local schools and other locations. Orders must be in be Sept. 23. For students and teachers, the price is $8 per shirt. For all others, it’s $15. The only colors available are red or black.

As in years past, PAACE is looking for sponsors to offer incentive items for young people to wear their Red Ribbon Week wristbands and tee-shirts. Local businesses could offer prizes or free items to young people during the week.  

Among the examples cited from last year were free toothbrushes at Parker Family Dental, a free small popcorn at the BlueWater Cinemas, and free cookies from Walmart and Subway.

For more information on Red Ribbon Week, or to become a sponsor, call PAACE at 928-669-0175 or e-mail Kom at Courtney.paace@gmail.com.

About Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week was created in honor of US Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was tortured and murdered in 1985 in Mexico, allegedly by members of a drug cartel.

Within weeks of Camarena’s death, his Congressman, Duncan Hunter, and Henry Lozano, a high school friend, launched Camarena Clubs in Imperial Valley, Calif. Club members pledged to lead drug-free lives in honor of Camarena and the sacrifices of other Americans who fought against illegal drugs. The members began wearing red ribbons as a symbol of Camarena’s memory.

Today, Red Ribbon Week is a national event that encourages young people to lead drug, gang and violence-free lives.

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