About 30 students from the New Providence Middle School Peer Leaders Club kicked off Red Ribbon Week Friday afternoon at Centennial Park along side Mayor J. Brooke Hern and members of the New Providence Alliance to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
Before the students hit the pavement and tied red ribbons throughout the borough, Hern informally presented a proclamation, designating the week of Oct. 23 to Oct. 31, 2011 as Red Ribbon Week, which he also presented at the Council meeting on Monday.
“I understand you’ve all been doing a lot of work volunteering and being a positive part of what’s going on in school and trying to help other students,” Hern said to the Peer Leaders. “I just want to say how great that is and how much the whole town really appreciates it.”
Hern told the students that he hopes they find their volunteer efforts rewarding, just as he always has, and will continue to volunteer in the community in the future.
Reading from the proclamation, Hern said Red Ribbon Week began in 1988 when a group of parents began wearing red satin badges in memory of Enrique Camarena, who was killed in the line of duty as a Federal Drug Enforcement Administration Agent.
“As a result, in 1989 the red ribbon became a united symbol of commitment to create a drug-free America, showing a nation’s intolerance to alcohol and drug abuse,” Hern said, reading from the proclamation. “The Municipal Alliance of the Borough of New Providence, whose mandate includes spreading the message of drug and alcohol abuse prevention, has coordinated borough and school participation by sponsoring Red Ribbon Week.”
Therefore, the borough, through the efforts of the Alliance and the schools, will proudly join the nation’s celebration of Red Ribbon Week by displaying red ribbons throughout the borough at the Municipal Center, in the business district, at schools and at places of worship, Hern said, asking “all residents to join in a personal commitment to a drug-free America by wearing and displaying red ribbons during Red Ribbon Week.”
The Peer Leaders Club, which is made up of about 60 students, participates in several events and activities for Red Ribbon Week each year, including an anti-drug dance, an anti-drug poster contest and anti-drug tips of the week, said James Finley, a 7th and 8th grade science teacher, who co-chairs the club with girls’ soccer coach Scott Murphy.
“The Peer Leader Club is [made up of] students that feel strongly about making a positive impact in their school and local community, and we work to develop different programs that support this as well as alternative activities for students who want to stay away from drugs and alcohol,” said Finley, who has worked in the district for eight years.
Finley said the club is made up of students who demonstrate true leadership in the community and are admitted through an application process that requires letters of recommendation from teachers and community members, and a GPA above a B average.
Throughout the year, the Peer Leaders participate in various events and activities, such as an anti-bullying activity with elementary school students and raising money for Relay for Life.
Local businesses are joining in to help raise awareness for Red Ribbon Week and support the NP Alliance in their efforts to run programs that inform, educate, and help prevent drug and alcohol abuse. Residents can visit those businesses this week for discounts, to make a contribution, or just to thank them with your business for their support of our community. Click for more details.
Note: The New Providence Alliance to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse is a non-profit volunteer organization whose purpose is to prevent alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse in our community, as well as assisting individuals and families with finding help for alcohol, tobacco and drug related problems.
For more information about Red Ribbon Week or about The New Providence Alliance, contact us at 908-665-1400, ext. 579 and visit us on Facebook.