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Charles Reed Girl Scouts kick off Red Ribbon Week with actvities, superheroes

Brock A. Stein | 10/26/2015, 11:58 a.m.
Charles Reed Girl Scouts recently held an event to kick things off for Red Ribbon Week--a week-long campaign against drugs ...
Joliet police officer Dwayne English talks to Charles Reed Girl Scouts about their pledge to stay drug free. Photo by Brock A. Stein

Girl Scout troops at Charles Reed Elementary School in Plainfield are saying no to drugs and bullying.

As part of the kickoff to Red Ribbon week, the scouts from 12 different troops met at the elementary school in Joliet last week to set the tone for a week of events planned for the anti-drug and bullying movement.

Nationally, the Red Ribbon campaign is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration. It started in 1985 as a way to honor the memory of Enrique (Kiki) S. Camarena a DEA agent who was kidnapped and killed by drug traffickers he had been investigating.

Tina Haynes, troop organizer for the Girl Scouts at Charles Reed and also a troop leader herself, said that the event was organized to get the word out in advance of the week of activities.

Scouts ranging from kindergarten through high school age created posters to display around the school and decorated collection boxes for a canned food drive for Creek Side Cares as well.

As part of the school’s super hero theme for the week, “Have the Power to Say No to Drugs” scouts also picked a super hero name and decorated masks as part of the activities.

Different themes are planned for each day of the week including the kickoff on Monday when students are being encouraged to wear red. Each day of the week will include a theme ranging from: Tuesday’s “Team Up Against Drugs” day when students can wear their favorite sports team jersey or super her team shirts; Wednesday is “We Can Make a Difference Day” when students are asked to bring in a canned food donation for Creek Side Cares; Thursday is “Have the power to say no to drugs” day; and Friday students will celebrate by wearing their school spirit wear.

On the night of the scout event, the girls wore red shirts that were especially made for the gathering by Big Frog T-Shirts in Shorewood, said Haynes.

Haynes said that the event was organized to get kids excited about the Red Ribbon campaign and also to raise awareness about the theme of “saying no to drugs” and bullying.

The message is one of “acceptance of our differences” said Haynes who said that the scouts who participated in the event will also earn a patch.

The enthusiasm of the scouts buzzing through the different activity stations at the school were enough to reinvigorate Joliet police officer Dwayne English who had just finished a 12-hour shift before he reported to the Charles Reed gym for the event.

English who talked to the young scouts about the importance of staying drug free also quizzed them on the proper time to call 9-1-1, handing out prizes that ranged from pencils to stuffed bears with messages of encouragement.

English said he got involved in the event when he noticed a neighbor’s red ribbons hanging in their front yard. The 16-year veteran officer patrols the west district of Joliet which includes the school so he’s familiar with the neighborhood. He said he was happy to be somewhere where the vibes were overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s a nice change of pace,” said English.

Contact me at brock@thetimesweekly.com or on Twitter @BrockAStein