BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Red Ribbon Week is a national campaign to educate children on drug, alcohol and other substance abuse prevention. It occurs at the end of October every year, but the Substance Abuse Intervention League (S.A.I.L.) of Maumee has made it a mission to extend the education.
S.A.I.L. consultant Don Adamski said the week typically falls around Hallo-ween, parent-teacher conferences and sporting events, so the board chose to hold an event to spread the message a few weeks later.
In conjunction with a designated Maumee City Schools Family Night, S.A.I.L. is providing free admission for all Maumee students and their families to Imagination Station on Monday, November 21.
“All the research in the world will tell you that when kids do things with their parents, their family, they’re less likely to choose to use. That’s why we say if you bring your family, you get in for free,” Adamski said. “That’s the culmination that is Imagination Station night.”
Maumee City Schools interim Superintendent Steve Lee said the family night is a way to encourage parents to have important talks with their children and spend time together.
“We asked our coaches not to have practice and our teachers not to assign homework. If nothing else, some of our families just choose to play games at home and that’s welcomed, too. It’s just a time to focus and spend time with family on November 21,” Lee said.
The free event at Imagination Station is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The Maumee branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library will also be open until 8:30 p.m. and will have free crafts, snacks and a scavenger hunt for Maumee parents and their school-age children.
Adamski said he has had parents thank him after events like this for providing them with the opportunity to connect with their children and find a way to talk about a serious topic.
“We’ve done a variety of things through the years, but this, by far, is the most impactful and joyful for the community,” Adamski said.
In addition to the family night and Red Ribbon Week events that occurred at the school, members of the Interact club hung up red ribbons in front of the school and in uptown Maumee, which Adamski said signifies making good choices.
He said each reminder is a small way to encourage children to make good choices. With the holiday season approaching, Adamski wanted to remind students they are not alone in their struggles and to establish ways to reach out for support.
S.A.I.L. also participated in the National Drug Take-Back Day on October 29 as part of its Red Ribbon activities and provided support for those collecting the prescriptions at the two drop-off locations in Maumee.
“Although every day is important to have discussions with your kids about choosing not to use and being role models, this week is a time to target it,” urged Adamski. “Often-times, after that first quarter of school, it’s where a lot of parents are reaching out for extra support.”
For recovery services, there are several centers in the area, including Zepf Center and Midwest Recovery Center, Adamski said. More information about both services can be found at zepfcenter.org and midwestrecoverycenter.com.