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Elks embrace Red Ribbon Week

Mineral Area Elks Lodge 2583 works with three area schools — Central, North County and West County — during the month of October, offering assemblies that focused on this year’s national theme, “Send a Message. Stay Drug Free.” Here, Elroy the Elk quizzes the students of North County Parkside Elementary.

National Family Partnership’s Red Ribbon Campaign might have been Oct. 23-31, but Mineral Area Elks Lodge 2583 is hoping results from the efforts they’ve made to bring drug awareness to area schools last much longer.

Red Ribbon week started in 1985 as a response to the murder of DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena by the Mexican drug cartel. Parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing red ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction cause by drugs in America.

This year, members of Mineral Area Elks Lodge worked with three area schools — Central, North County and West County —  during the month of October, offering assemblies that focused on this year’s national theme, “Send a Message. Stay Drug Free.”

Since 1982, the Elks’ own National Drug Awareness Program has reached out to children and parents about the dangers of illegal drug use, and the ways to prevent the abuse of legalized and prescription drugs. The Elks’ national theme this year is “Life does not rewind, choose life not drugs.”

The Elks presented assemblies at North County Intermediate on Oct. 11, at North County Parkside Elementary on Oct. 25, at Central West Elementary on Oct. 29, and at West County Elementary on Oct. 30.

In all, these Elks members, joined by mascot Elroy the Elk, distributed about 2,000 Red Ribbon wristbands and “Say No to Drugs” coloring books to the schools, according to Elks member Karen Ferrell. Local law enforcement also presented K-9 demonstrations for many of the area students. Additionally, North County Parkside Elementary held a dance on Nov. 1 at the end of Red Ribbon Week, which mascot Elroy the Elk also attended.

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But it’s not just about coloring, dances, assemblies and wristbands. Ferrell said students at many area schools were invited during the assembles to participate in contests and media activities centered on the Elks’ national theme, “Life does not rewind, choose life not drugs.”

Students in 3rd-5th grades were invited to develop a poster using the national theme. From all submissions, three posters will be awarded: 1st place - $50, 2nd - $25 and 3rd - $10. Winners will then be submitted to the Southeast Missouri District and then one winner will be sent on to the state level. At the state level, prizes will be awarded for 1st - $300, 2nd $200 and 3rd - $100. The first-place winner at the state level will be submitted to the national level. Recognition will be awarded with the poster possibly being published in a national magazine, included on the Elks national website and in the coloring book.

Students in 6th-8th grades were invited to write an essay around “Life does not rewind, choose life not drugs.” From all submissions, three essays will be awarded: 1st place - $50, 2nd - $25 and 3rd - $10. Winners will continue to the Southeast Missouri District, with one winner proceeding to the state competition. State-level prizes will be awarded for 1st - $300, 2nd $200 and 3rd - $100. The first-place state winner will continue to the national level. Recognition will be awarded, with the essay possibly being published in a national magazine or on the Elks national website.

Students in 7th-12th grades were presented with a contest to develop a video around this year’s theme. From all submissions, three videos will be awarded: 1st place - $50, 2nd - $25 and 3rd - $10 award. Winners will then be submitted to the Southeast Missouri District and one winner will be sent on to the state level. At the state level, prizes will be awarded: 1st place - $300, 2nd $200 and 3rd - $100. The first-place winner at this level will be submitted to the national level. Recognition will be awarded with the video possibly being published on the Elks national website.

The entries will be collected from Nov. 1 through the first week of December.

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Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or at shaas@dailyjournalonline.com.

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