Dear Editor –
“Caution: Drugs & Alcohol Zombify Your Brain” was the theme for an unbelievably successful Red Ribbon Week 2011. It was another record-breaking year for the number of individuals, businesses, organizations and agencies joining together to celebrate drug free, violence free youth in La Paz County.
Major supporters this year included Parker Area Alliance for Community Empowerment (PAACE), La Paz County School Superintendent’s Office, Arizona Western College, Cenpatico, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Walmart, Parker Police Department, Apismellis Home Health Care, La Paz Regional Hospital and schools throughout La Paz County.
The week-long campaign kicked off in Bouse with a Red Ribbon Parade and Fun Day. The Parker Area Chamber of Commerce headed up our Business Decorating Contest and awarded two grand prize baskets filled with donated items from Mary Kay, Bluewater Cinemas, Cyber D’s and Early Bird. Congratulations to the winners, La Paz County Sheriff’s Department and Parker Elks Lodge. We appreciate all the businesses who showed their support by decorating. Soroptimist Club of Parker “Painted the Parks Red,” with red ribbons, and National Bank of Arizona showcased a display in their lobby to inform the community about PAACE and Red Ribbon Week. BlueWater Cinemas donated prizes and hosted a Youth Film Festival showcasing drug and violence prevention videos created by local youth who participated in the UofA Cooperative Extension summer film camps.
Numerous activities took place throughout the week including events at Parker High School, Salome High School and Wallace Elementary School sponsored by PAACE, Youth 4 Youth 4-H Club, Walmart, Jonathan Landis, and Officer Cherre Hooper. A number of area businesses provided incentives to kids wearing their Red Ribbon Wristbands including; Burger King, Dominos Pizza, Taco Bell, KFC, BlueWater Cinemas and the Parker Elks Lodge. On Wednesday, KLPZ sponsored “Stand-Up Against Drugs and Violence,” a countywide event to remind students and others why we commemorate Red Ribbon Week each year. Schools decorated classroom doors and students at Blake Primary School took part in their own Red Ribbon Week assembly and parade, marching around their campus.
The highlight of the week were five Substance Abuse Prevention Presentations focusing on Prescription Drug Abuse. The presentations included valuable information from Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Special Agent Rockwell Herron and heartfelt testimony from Aaron Rubin and his parents. Aaron, once a healthy, athletic young man started abusing drugs and alcohol in high school, eventually overdosing on Oxycontin six years ago at age 23. Today Aaron is quadriplegic and completely dependant on his parents. The family shared their experience and urged young people to not make the same mistakes Aaron made and parents to be aware of what their children are doing.
As always the week culminated with our annual Family Fun Day. It was another overwhelming success with more than 1,104 people in attendance. Thank you to the more than 80 individuals and businesses who sponsored our t-shirts by donating $25 or more as well as those who also donated prizes for events throughout the week and for Family Fun Day including; David Plunkett Realty, Arizona-Mexico Border Health Foundation, Emerald Canyon Golf Course, Wallace Junior High, Christ’s Church on the River, Bashas’, Oasis Mini-Mart, and many others. The Parker Lions Club supported Family Fun Day by spending the day barbequing over 900 hot dogs and making cotton candy and popcorn. Soroptimists provided a bounce house/slide for the kids. Others taking part in Family Fun Day included, Carvel/Cinnabon, Subway, Youth 4 Youth 4-H Club, Colorado River Regional Crisis Shelter, La Paz County Career Center, CASA, Parker Fire Department, River Medical, Community Intervention Associates (CIA), Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), First Things First, La Paz County Sheriff’s Department, Parker High School FFA, Abbey Wolf – Miss Colorado River’s Outstanding Teen and Eddie Eagle (Gun Safe Program), Parker Public Library, Bashas’, Christ’s Church on the River, Cenpatico, Parker United Methodist Church, Healthy Choices, Parker Police Department and Explorers, U of A Cooperative Extension, PHEPP, Walmart, Grace Assembly of God Church, Oasis Mini-Mart, Don & DoRann Davis (Dunk Tank Sponsors), Wallace Junior High School and the Parker Pioneer.
No doubt, we could fill an entire page with thank yous! Short of that, we simply want to express again, our sincere appreciation to each and every business, organization and individual who found some way to support the 2011 Red Ribbon Week Campaign to celebrate drug free, violence free youth in La Paz County. Please remember, it is important to let the youth in our community know every day that we support them and encourage them to be happy and successful by living their lives drug free, and violence free. It’s true… Drugs & Alcohol do Zombify Your Brains!
PAACE Executive Director
If you would like more information on how you can be a part of PAACE Coalition call Melissa at 669 – 0175 or come to one of our meetings on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at noon at Players Youth Center.