Red Ribbon Week ended Thursday evening with a hot dog/chili drop-in dinner at the downtown facility.
GRAAB activities continued this morning with a communitywide prayer breakfast at the Boys and Girls Clubs in downtown Cleveland.
Blair Deacon coordinated events at the Teen Learning Center (and at GOAL Academy and the Bradley County Juvenile Court’s Behavioral Unit) this week, assisted by TLC principal Cliff Eason and Lisa Wiley of Cleveland city schools.
Tim Tatum of the Pine Ridge Center was also at Thursday’s event, along with GRAAB executive director Tanya Southerland. Cleveland City Schools’ Coordinated School Health director Amy Hicks also stopped by for a few minutes.
Several parents visited the TLC campus with their children, viewing awareness displays about the dangers of substance abuse and addictive behaviors.
This week’s Red Ribbon activities were funded by a TREK grant through the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. Deacon is the creator and program director locally, working with the three groups (TLC, GOAL Academy and the Bradley County Juvenile Court Behavioral Unit).
Deacon said the program is in its second year, serving both Cleveland City and Bradley County schools.
“TREK (Teaching Responsibility and Educating Kids) is about enforcing underage drinking laws, and addresses the need for education that prevents tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse, and instills knowledge and skills necessary for students to become responsible, productive citizens,” said Deacon.
The program’s director said Cleveland City Schools has formed a coalition of youth-serving agencies and individuals to meet the needs of the alternative school population and their families.
“TREK incorporates cultural diversity training for students and families, while addressing gender specific needs. It utilizes art, music, dance and animal-assisted therapy,” Deacon added. “Currently the grant serves these three schools.”
Red Ribbon Week celebrations were held at all three schools with student-parent breakfasts, dinners and community resource workshops.
There were several themes this week, including “Give Drugs the Boot” (Boot Day), “Put on Your Thinking Cap and Say No to Drugs” (Hat Day), “Team Up Against Drugs Day” (Team Shirt Day), 100 Percent Rally for Red Day” and “Drugs Trick — They Don’t Treat Day.”
Students also completed drug-free pledges that were displayed at every school.
“The TREK program appreciates its many supporters, presenters and resources,” said the program’s director.
These supporters include the Bradley County DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), Meth Task Force, GRAAB Coalition, Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, Cleveland Family YMCA, Hiwassee Mental Health and Pine Ridge Treatment Center.