October 21-24, students from Hamilton Central School celebrated drug-free living and positive life choices with Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon Week was developed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and is the largest prevention outreach program observed in schools and communities nationwide.
The Hamilton Area Community Coalition organizes Red Ribbon Week activities and events in Hamilton, in collaboration with many local partners and HCS. Each morning, school students kicked off the day by presenting different community members with “Red Ribbon Awards” for outstanding service in protecting or supporting safe, healthy, drug-free kids. This year’s awards went to: Kyle Sylvester, Director of Operations and CSO of SOMAC Ambulance; David Little, SOMAC Student Coordinator and HACC member; Hamilton Police Officer Michael Mordus, Jr.; Hamilton Central School Superintendent, Bill Dowsland; and Hamilton Police Sgt. Matt Janczuk.
Students also participated in a number of creative drug-prevention activities, and were able to win prizes for joining in spirit days, taking positive photos with their friends, and pledging to stay Drug-Free. On the first morning of the week-long event, HACC program coordinator, Melissa Cassulis, gave students an overview of why Red Ribbon Week is observed, and why it’s especially significant in the Hamilton community. “Because of our federal Drug Free Communities Grant, we are able to bring these special programs and fun events to our school, programs that other schools don’t always have resources for. In Hamilton, we have the unique privilege of developing and piloting engaging prevention outreach projects, which schools and communities all across the country are copying,” shared Cassulis. “But what makes our Red Ribbon Week most special, is the dozens of community members and local businesses who support our students and who care. As far as we know, we’re the only community where local businesses offer discounts and specials to students who sign the Red Ribbon Week Pledge and commit to living drug-free.”
HCS and the Hamilton Coalition would like to thank the following businesses and organizations for their support of Red Ribbon Week and drug-free kids: Maxwell’s Chocolates & Ice Cream, Rye Berry Café & Bakery, Flour & Salt Bakery, Shol’s Boutique, Colgate Bookstore, Pizza Pub, Colgate COVE Public Health Initiative, and the Hamilton Public Library. For photos and more info on Red Ribbon Week, follow HACC on facebook.com/HamiltonAreaCommunityCoalition, or on Instagram, @HamiltonCoalition.