Don't be surprised when you look down the street in downtown Geneva this weekend and see row after row of red ribbons.
That's because Saturday, Oct. 20, through Saturday, Oct. 27, is Red Ribbon Week in Geneva, a time when students and community come together to celebrate smart choices, particularly in regard to drugs and alcohol use.
The theme this year is "The Best Me Is Drug Free," and Lisa Gillette, adviser of Geneva High School's Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) organization and Julie Pouilly of the Geneva Coalition for Youth made presentations at the Geneva City Council meeting on Oct. 15 as well as the Geneva School Board meeting on Oct. 9.
High School Student Haley Person told the City Council that she is proud to be a part of the SADD group and hoped Red Ribbon Week 2012 would raise awareness and help kids make mature decisions regarding substance abuse."
"We know that there’s a lot of pressure on teens to fit into crowds," she said. "But we need to let them know what the real norm is."
Person said some young people turn to drugs or alcohol "mainly because they’re bored—which is a terrible reason." She said she's aware that addiction runs in her family, so she finds other outlets, like snowboarding, to keep herself busy and focused.
"There’s a natural high for everyone," she advised teenagers. "They just need to find what it is."
Pouilly, who has served as chair of the Geneva Coalition for Youth for the past four years, announced that she would be stepping down after this year and hoped that a parent or community member would step up to fill that role.
"Prevention is much more than telling your kids drugs are bad," she said. "It's giving our children a regular platform. It's honoring our children for who they are and what they believe in. It's hearing their words and their meanings."
There are many highlights during the week, but Pouilly said her favorite—and the event her kids value the most—is the candlelight vigil that takes place at 7 p.m. Sunday on the steps of City Hall.
Here's the agenda for the week:
Saturday, Oct. 20: SADD Club, Geneva middle school students and the community are invited to hang red ribbons in downtown Geneva to celebrate Red Ribbon Week. Meet at Starbucks on Main Street at 9 a.m. SADD Club to provide ribbons.
Sunday, Oct. 21: Pray for the Children Candlelight Vigil on the steps of City Hall at 7 p.m. This candlelight vigil honors the children and youth of Geneva. (All beliefs/faiths are welcome.)
Monday through Friday, Oct. 22-26: Community Food Drive at St. Peter and Geneva District 304 schools. Local food pantries are at all-time lows. This is a great way to build assets while supporting the less fortunate in our community!
Monday, Oct. 11: Pizza Palooza. Geneva Park District kicks off Red Ribbon Week with pizza and live entertainment. Bring the family and wear red! This is a free event; however, registration is required. (The registration code is 88204.) This healthy-choice event is a suggested asset-building activity.
Monday to Saturday, Oct. 22-27: Rx Drug Collection Program. Protect our youth, our community and our planet by bringing all unused and/or unwanted prescription drugs and over-the- counter medication to the Geneva Police Department for safe disposal. (Please remove a non-liquid drugs from their original packaging and place them in a plastic bag.)
Tuesday, Oct. 23: Harrison Street School Blood Drive. Give the gift of blood from 3 to 7 p.m. in the OLD gym. Walk-ins welcome, or call/text Debbie with name and desired time of donation, 1-630-338-3031.
Thursday, Oct. 25: Parent to Parent/Lessons Learned: FREE parenting workshop runs for four consecutive Thursdays: Oct. 25, Nov. 1, Nov. 8 and Nov. 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the School District Administrative Offices, 227 N. Fourth St. For parents of children of any age, sessions include recognizing the signs of an unhealthy child, battling against teen drinking and drug use, the dangers of the Internet, and identifying common traps parents fall into with children. To sign up, contact Chic or Linda Williams at 630-463-3083/4.
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27: The Geneva Park District has organized “healthy choice” Halloween events for teens on Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and for younger kids on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is required. Join the fun while building assets!
Saturday, Oct. 27: “Make-A-Difference” day. This is the largest national day of helping others—a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors.
Monday, Oct. 29: Food Drive Drop Off. District schools to drop off collected food items at First Baptist Church, 2300 South St., between 9 am. and 4 p.m. Please contact Erin Wise to schedule the drop off at email@example.com.
Saturday, Nov. 3: Take down ribbons; everyone to meet at Starbucks on State Street at 9 a.m. For more information, contact, GenevaCoalitionForYouth@gmail.com.
City of Geneva Proclamation
Red Ribbon Week
OCTOBER 20-27, 2012
WHEREAS, it is imperative that visible, unified prevention education and asset building efforts by community members be launched to reduce the demand and availability for drugs; and
WHEREAS, The Illinois Drug Education Alliance, Governor’s Office, State of Illinois, Community Intervention Team, Geneva Coalition for Youth, S.A.D.D., and M.A.D.D. Illinois are sponsoring the Red Ribbon campaign offering citizens the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to drug-free lifestyles, and promotion of the healthy development of all citizens, young, middle, and elderly; and
WHEREAS, business, government, law enforcement, schools, religious institutions, service organizations, youth, physicians, senior citizens, military, sports teams, and individuals will demonstrate their commitment to drug-free, healthy lifestyles by wearing and displaying Red Ribbons during this week-long campaign, and carry the spirit and message of this week into each day this year until our next Red Ribbon October 2013; and
WHEREAS, the City of Geneva further commits its resources to ensure the success of the Red Ribbon campaign throughout this year until Red Ribbon 2013.
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved, the City of Geneva does hereby support October 20-27, 2012 as Red Ribbon Week, and encourages its citizens to participate in alcohol and other drug education andprevention activities,makingavisiblestatementthatwearestronglycommittedtoadrug- free community.
“The Best Me is Drug Free.”
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 15th day of October 2012.
Kevin R. Burns, Mayor