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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 9:31 am | Fair 59º


Harding University Partnership School Students Recognized for Red Ribbon Week

Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson awards class with certificates for participating in anti-drug training

Harding University Partnership School students get recognized for participating in anti-drug training during Red Ribbon Week.
Harding University Partnership School students get recognized for participating in anti-drug training during Red Ribbon Week.  (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

Students at Harding University Partnership School participating in the A-OK After School Opportunities for Kids curriculum received special recognition on Monday afternoon during Red Ribbon Week, a nationwide drug prevention program that serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities, educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities and educational programs.

“The goal of Red Ribbon Week is to educate students on the danger of drugs and alcohol,” said Debi Badger, Santa Barbara Unified School District Afterschool/Expanded Learning Program Director.

“A-OK’s focus is to provide a safe, nurturing environment whereby students feel safe to speak up and share their feelings, fears, failures, and successes.

“We want them to be confident to stand up for themselves and support their friends on drug and alcohol abuse. Red Ribbon Week provides the education on the dangers of substance abuse.”

The Red Ribbon Campaign runs from October 23-31, and is sponsored by the National Family Partnership, a nonprofit organization formally known as the National Federation for Drug Free Youth.

Outraged parents and youths formed the Drug Free Youth campaign across the country in response to the murder of DEA agent, Enrique Camarena, in 1985. The agency’s goal is to promote and educate families and youth from all walks of life about the dangers of drugs, and remains the vocal point of the cause.

To date, National Family Partnership is the largest anti-drug advocacy campaign worldwide and has reached millions of people around the world who proudly wear red ribbons during the weeklong celebration. The red ribbons symbolize their commitment to raising awareness to the countless deaths and destruction caused by drugs in America.

Students in the A-OK After School program learned about Red Ribbon Week and drug prevention. Click to view larger
Students in the A-OK After School program learned about Red Ribbon Week and drug prevention.  (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

An enthusiastic crowd of over 30 grade 5-6 students enrolled in the A-OK After School program at Harding gathered around Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, eagerly awaiting their turn to receive a special Red Ribbon certificate award — a badge of honor for their participation in the CADA (Counsel on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse) anti-drug training class held on campus.

Students in the class learn about the history of Red Ribbon Week and play an interactive Q&A game related to drugs and alcohol. 

“When you work with these youngsters and provide them with a Red Ribbon certificate that means something to them it gives them a source of pride,” Jackson said.

“And it’s something to remind them in life that they have essentially made a commitment, a pledge, to take care of themselves and respect themselves and the people around them, and we know that when people abuse drugs it’s exactly the opposite.”

The A-OK program, funded by the California Department of Education/After School Division, provides daily afterschool activates to over 800 students at seven elementary schools in Santa Barbara County in grades 1-8.

“We want our children to have a healthy start and a healthy view of themselves and a commitment that they are going to maintain a good quality of life as they grow up,” Jackson said.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson presented certificates to students at Harding University Partnership School Monday. Click to view larger
State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson presented certificates to students at Harding University Partnership School Monday.  (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

The organization’s ongoing success depends on a collaborative effort from city, county, civic and nonprofit affiliates that provide an abundance of educational programs, and physical activities and services such as the SBCC/Work Study program, SB City Library’s Reading Ambassador Program, UCSB Swim to College Program, Explore Ecology, T-off, YMCA fitness Facility at La Cumbre, SB Museum of Art, Everybody Dance Now, Easy Lift Transportation, and the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office, that teaches grade 5 students the fundamentals of the justice system.

“Our goal is to increase school attendance, boost student’s academic level and increase physical actives for all students. It’s a community collaborative effort with either reduced services, or services at no charge, from some of the agencies and organizations,” Badger said.

“We are really blessed to live in a community that loves to give to all our ASES programs. We are struggling to operate on $7.50 per day, per student attendance, and the community support helps to sustain us. I am aware that other programs without their community support are struggling across the state.”

The A-OK curriculum running until November 13, includes the mathematics role-playing adventure game, “Lost Tribe of Tocowan”, “Shoot Great Video” iPad program, literacy development with “Ghost Stories!”, SPARK Great Games and Activities and Super Sports.

Click here to find out more about A-OK After School Opportunities for Kids.

— Noozhawk contributing writer Melissa Walker can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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