On a day they wore Halloween costumes to school, Blandford Elementary students learned a lesson about true character.
Effingham County High School’s Interact Club wrapped up Red Ribbon Week on Friday by sharing the campaign’s anti-drug message with students in all grades at Blandford and three other elementary schools.
“They look up to older kids, so I feel like we can get the message across,” said Interact Vice President Molly Welch. “We’re showing them that you don’t have to do those things to be cool.”
The Interact members performed skits demonstrating the dangers of smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs, and the “drug-free queen” — complete with a crown and sash — handed out candy to the elementary-school students.
The program concluded with the youngsters pledging not to use drugs by signing a banner with the slogan “a healthy me is drug-free.”
“I love coming here to do this,” said Patrick Welch, one of the Interact members who visited Blandford. “It’s giving them the right message, setting an example. It’s a blast.”
The ECHS Interact Club took its Red Ribbon Week message to Springfield Elementary, as it has in previous years, and added visits to Blandford, Ebenezer and Guyton elementary schools this year.
“It means a lot that other schools in the county want us to come,” Molly Welch said.
“The earlier that we can educate our young children about the importance of being drug-free, the better they will be in the long run,” said BES Principal Harriett Snooks. “Awareness is the key. We will never be able to shelter our young children from all of the ‘ugly’ in the world; however, if we educate them and make them aware at a young age, we can only hope they will stay on the right track.”
Throughout the week, every school in Effingham County hosted themed days to promote the Red Ribbon campaign. For example, students wore sports jerseys to “kick off to a drug-free life” or donned beach-style attire to “sea” themselves “swimming away” from drugs.
“The (themed) days help because kids find it fun, so they want to get more involved,” Molly Welch said. “It means a lot to me that our club can come together and make this such a big deal, and we really get the message out there with our peers and our classmates.”
After promoting that all week on their own campus, the ECHS students shared it with the elementary schools. They asked the elementary schoolers to suggest positive activities to enjoy instead of doing drugs, and the children yelled out several answers such as playing outside, reading, drawing and spending time with friends.
Though the children are too young to know with certainty what they want to be when they grow up, Patrick Welch hoped they already understand “they shouldn’t do (drugs) if they want to pursue their dreams and be anything in life.”