Santa Barbara Fighting Back is collaborating with the Santa Barbara County Education Office, the Santa Barbara Police Department, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office to celebrate Red Ribbon Week by conducting the 18th Annual Kids Fight Drugs Poster Contest.

Children in kindergarten through eighth grade are invited to enter. Participants show their creative and artistic side by creating a poster about being drug free that depicts this year’s theme: “Ask me, see me, be me. I’m drug free!”

Classrooms all over South Santa Barbara County participate in the contest to promote awareness of having a drug-free life. Teachers instruct students to create a poster that makes a statement concerning drug and alcohol abuse. It should reflect this year’s theme.

Posters are due by noon Sept. 26 at the County Education Office, 4400 Cathedral Oaks Road. Posters will be judged Sept. 30 by community leaders. Twelve winners and 38 honorable mentions will be honored at a reception in the Mural Room of the Santa Barbara Courthouse at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 19.

The twelve winners receive savings bonds provided by drug seizure monies through the police department, the sheriff’s department and the district attorney’s office. Up to five teacher prizes will be awarded based on their effort and inspiration as determined by class participation. The winning posters will be featured in the 2009 Kids Fight Drugs calendar that is distributed to all children in grades kindergarten through eighth grade in South Santa Barbara County before winter break.

Red Ribbon Week is Oct. 23-31.

For more information, call 805.963.1433, ext. 110, or e-mail

Jasmine Rara is a media and special events coordinator for the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.