Using mismatched shoes to stomp out drugs and signing a drug-free pledge banner were two things students at Tozer Primary School did during Red Ribbon Week.
The students and staff participated in the weeklong event last week that encouraged students to enjoy a healthy, drug-free lifestyle in addition to making positive choices.
Second-grader Emily Hinson, 7, understood the importance of Red Ribbon Week.
“I think it’s really important to not do drugs because you could die from it, and drugs aren’t good for your body,” Emily said. “Exercising and making healthy choices is really important because if not, you could get sick. Eating the right food choices is better than eating the wrong food choices.”
According to ImDrugFree.com, Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. Red Ribbon Week generally takes place the last full week in October. The website said Red Ribbon Week serve as a vehicle for communities and individuals to take a stand for the hopes and dreams of children through a commitment to drug prevention and education and a personal commitment to live drug-free lives with the ultimate goal being the creation of drug-free America.
Making healthy choices is a key for young kids, said Tozer principal Shelly Prenger. She said the focus of the week wasn’t necessarily on staying away from drugs because of the age of the students (kindergarten to second grade).
“Our focus here is, what can you do to make healthy choices?” Prenger said.
Tozer physical education teacher Brian Powell said it’s huge to educate the kids at a young age when they’re impressionable.
“I think it’s good for them to see us promoting healthy choices and good decisions,” Powell said. “I think it’s very important at this age because if they start the healthy habits right now, they can build on that and continue to make good, healthy choices. If we wait until they’re in junior high or high school, sometimes it’s too late to reverse some of those effects.”
Prenger told the students they can do three things to make healthy choices — eat five fruits and vegetables a day, drink plenty of water and get exercise every day.
“I feel like we have the perfect population to start teaching and encouraging kids to make healthy choices,” Prenger said. “Those are three simple things that they can do, and it fits perfectly with our character qualities demonstrating all those things like responsibility, courtesy and respect.”
The students were given a Stomp Out Drugs sticker on Monday, signed the drug-free pledge banner on Tuesday and Wednesday, wore red on Wednesday and put on the mismatched shoes to stomp out drugs on Thursday.
“Good food is really healthy for you because they make muscles,” said second-grader Tanner Garcia, 8.
Tozer first-grade teacher Katie Eccleston said it’s important that the kids learn now how to be healthy and make those good choices in their lives.
“They’re going to be faced with a lot of choices later on, and if they know from an early age how to make positive choices and what are going to be good choices, they can remember that as they grow older when they’re faced with tougher choices,” Eccleston said.