CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. - Students and staff at St. Joseph's Indian School
observed Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23 - 30. To kick off the event, students
decorated balloons with drug-free slogans. The balloons were then released
as a symbol of the students' decision to be drug-free.
Throughout the week, students participated in a variety of activities,
including theme days at school, trivia games, banana split night and a
Halloween costume contest.
"Substance abuse includes a whole range of things from alcohol to drugs,"
said Deacon David Nagel, director of St. Joseph's Indian School. "We
believe all children need to know and understand their future can be free
from chemical dependency no matter what the substance may be."
Through education and repetition, St. Joseph's Indian School strives to
help students understand the negative effects of drugs and alcohol, teach
students to say "no" and help them realize being drug-free is a choice -
"Red Ribbon Week centers on three goals," said Clinical Services Director
Julie Soulek, "to emphasize the power of choice, to increase awareness that
staying healthy and drug-free is a positive decision and to increase
self-esteem in students."
Held in the fall, Red Ribbon Week is one of three sobriety celebrations
held at St. Joseph's Indian School every year. Another event is held in
mid-February and a third in the spring, which includes the annual Sobriety
"The future belongs to the young," said Nagel. "What better way to help
them find their future than to teach them they don't need substances to be
happy, healthy adults?"
"The prevalence of substance abuse in our society is alarming, especially
in reservation communities. The terrible effect it has had on the families
of the children who come to St. Joseph's increases the urgency of our
Red Ribbon Week is a celebration of sobriety urging families and
communities to express their intolerance for drug use by wearing red
ribbons. Red Ribbon Week is sponsored by the National Family Partnership
(NFP), an organization created in 1980 in response to the alarming rise in
teenage drug use. Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 after DEA agent Kiki
Camarena was brutally murdered by drug traffickers.