Thank you to the Port Chester Cares Community Coalition for submitting this information: A new community initiative designed to increase high school students’ awareness of the negative effects of alcohol and drug use is gaining support from businesses in Port Chester.
This month, Port Chester Cares Community Coalition in collaboration with Port Chester High School and Open Door Family Medical Center implemented Red Ribbon Week for the first time at Port Chester High School.
Each day throughout the week of Dec. 3, the campaign focused on the consequences of abusing a different substance. For example, the Monday focus was alcohol; Tuesday, tobacco; Wednesday, over the counter and prescription drugs and steroids, and Thursday, marijuana. On Friday, the campaign culminated in a photo contest in which students showed photos they took of themselves in front of “negative influences” such as alcohol or tobacco holding a sign that says “I am above the influence of ___________” (this drug). Winners in three different contest categories won a free pair of sunglasses.
Among the businesses supporting the Red Ribbon campaign are Cousin Frankie’s USA Grill, Chop’t Creative Salad Co., Marini’s Deli, LA Fitness, A.I. Friedman, Bar Taco and Modells.
“When I started looking for potential sponsors for Red Ribbon Week, I expected to receive a fair number of denials. But I have found the opposite to be true,” notes Chelsea Bodansky, Coordinator of the Port Chester Cares Community Coalition. “This is a community where people have seen enough drug abuse and want to be part of the positive change that is taking place in this town.”
The National Family Partnership organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Week in honor of Enrique Camarena, who in 1985 was working as an undercover DEA agent in Mexico. Camarena was tortured and killed while investigating a major drug cartel. In honor of his battle against illegal drugs, friends and neighbors began to wear red badges of satin.
The Port Chester Cares Community Coalition recently received the fifth year of funding of a five-year, highly competitive $125,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Over the past four years, the Coalition has seen a reduction in overall high-risk youth behavior. These changes include a reduction in binge drinking and 30-day alcohol use by 8th through 12th-graders attending Port Chester High School.