Attached to each balloon was a tiny white card bearing a message aimed at discouraging drug use. One read, “Say peace out to drugs.” Another read “You’re too cool to do drugs.”
Each card included a request — along with the school’s contact information — asking people who find the cards once they flutter to the ground to contact the school. Once responses begin coming in Weaver Elementary counselor Tawana Bonds plans to chart on a map where each card was found so students can know how far their circle of influence extended.
Red Ribbon week began in 1985 and its aim is to increase awareness about drug abuse and the risks associated with it. The signature red ribbon associated with the campaign symbolizes a commitment to stay drug free.
Students at Weaver Elementary have spent the week learning about the ills of drug use. The school held a “wear red day,” a “can be drug free” food drive, and asked students to pledge to be drug free. Using the slogan “Don’t close the door to your future! Say no to drugs,” teachers have also fused age-appropriate drug education information into the health curriculum in all grades at the elementary school.
Before students released the balloons, fourth-grade student Olivia Brimer, 9, said she sat amid a crowd of nearly 700 others and wondered where the cards would end up.
“I was thinking about where it would go and which people would read the message,” Brimer said. “It would really be cool if someone from Africa or Australia wrote us a letter saying we found your balloons.”
And while Brimer sat waiting to release her balloon with a crowd of students older students, Kallie Mayfield, 6, sat not far away, balloon in hand, with members of her kindergarten class.
After the release she noted that the red balloons looked like cherries as they floated away. She noted, too, that drugs are “bad.”
Brimer had a more in-depth understanding of what Red Ribbon week is about.
“This whole week is about not taking drugs,” Brimer said. “They can actually really hurt your brain and memory.”
Staff writer Laura Johnson: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.