Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Honorable Mention Red Ribbon Week Essay - Dangering Products: Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco By: Kolbie Bass

I choose to be above the influence of drugs, alcohol and tobacco because…

Participating in those activities are very dangerous and could most likely have life changing effects on your body.  Ever thought about that?

Once you get caught you can have people talking about you, is that what you want?  You are too smart to let one night of fun affect your school grades or GPA.  Remember that every time before you go out to party!

We all like sports!  Once you’re caught doing something wrong you can’t take it back.  Would you really want to risk not being able to show your athletic skills?

Woot!  Woot!  You just got a job!  You’re so glad that you now have money to spend.  You were driving while intoxicated though.  What do you think that means?  You will now lose your job.  No more money for you!

Once you can drive don’t EVER get in a car while intoxicated.  You could be risking your life!!! Always remember you can be endangering other people around you.  Don’t ever get in with anybody either if they could have used hurtful products to their body. 

Would you really want to ruin your relationships with friends and family just because you decided to do something wrong?  I know that I wouldn’t.  Once you have done something wrong your friends don’t want to call you their friends.  Always remember that it can reflect on your personality. 

Never give minors alcohol or any hurtful drugs to use.  Not only will you get in trouble for giving it to them, but they will get in trouble for using dangerous products.  You will suffer the consequences.  Don’t think that you can get out of it. 

Listen up guys!!! This is nothing to blow off or think that it’s not important!  You can be risking your life.  Never use hurtful products such as drugs, alcohol and tobacco.  Take it seriously!!!

Fact # 1 = 22 million Americans use illegal drugs
Fact # 2 = 9% or US population uses illegal drugs
Men tend to drink the most.
Younger men 18-49 are the heaviest drinkers of any age group or gender.
These are 2010 facts!

3rd Place Red Ribbon Week Essay - Stay Above! By: Summer Brown

I choose to be above the influence of drugs, alcohol and tobacco because I live a happy life, and I am not about to ruin it.  I won’t buy or use tobacco because it can cause cancer, it can ruin your skin and teeth and it makes a 32 year old look 50.  I won’t drink alcohol because it makes you unaware of what’s around you, it makes your decisions unwise and can put you in prison. 

I will never do drugs because some of them will put you in prison, they can kill you if you abuse them and they can cause liver disease. 

When you play sports in high school or college you can get kicked off the teams for doing drugs, alcohol or tobacco because then the coaches know that you don’t have the strength or willpower to refuse.  Doing drugs I illegal in sports and some in society, alcohol is illegal if you’re under 21, and tobacco is illegal if you’re under 18. 

My mom smokes, and used to do drugs.  The cigarettes make her look 10-15 years older and she’s only 34.  When she did drugs she made a lot of bad decisions.  Because of that I really don’t want to smoke, whether it’s pot or cigarettes. 

Each year about 16,000 people die of DUI.  I think that most of them are the innocent people who don’t drink because it seems like they’re usually the ones who die.  That isn’t fair in any way, shape or form.  In my opinion if anyone had to die it should be the drunken ones.  I don’t mean to be blunt but you wanted honesty.

Each year about 200,000 people die of drug overdose.  That’s terrible but they brought it upon themselves.  It’s their own fault they could have gone to rehab or said no in the first place.  If anything went through their heads it probably was “Let’s get high cause its fun.”  Because of that they’re dead.

Each year about 443,000 people die of using and abusing tobacco.  That’s more than drugs or DUI.  I think that’s because tobacco is most commonly used more than alcohol or drugs.  Also probably because there aren’t as many illegal tobacco products as illegal drugs. 

Each year about 88,000 people die of alcohol abuse.  I don’t get it why people choose drinking over friends and family.  I certainly wouldn’t choose alcohol.  They’re basically picking out the sheets for their death beds.  Since they are drunk, the sheets are probably ugly.

I’m in basketball and most likely will be through high school.  I won’t do drugs, alcohol or tobacco because I love basketball.  I also get A’s and B’s for grades and I want to get into a good college so I am above the influence. 

I’ll stay Above the Influence Forever!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2nd Place Red Ribbon Week Essay - I Stand Above the Influence - By Isabel Manning

All I hear are sirens, helicopters, screaming and crying.  Why!?  Why do I hear and see these horrible things?  It’s all because of a drunk driver.

Why do people do drugs, drink alcohol and use tobacco?  Probably because the people who do drugs think that they are only going to do it once, but they end up getting addicted to the drug which means that after a while their body gets used to it and it’s very hard to get out of the habit. 

It seems as though they don’t know the dangers of drugs.  There are lots and lots of dangerous things about them all.  Some drugs have good in them like if you have diabetes or cancer you take legal drugs to help the disease, but some people use these legal drugs inappropriately, like drinking too much of it and that leads to bad decisions.

When you drink more amounts of alcohol or any kind of drug your brain sends wrong messages through your blood vessels which sends wrong signals to the body.  You can end up seeing or hearing things that aren’t real, feeling things that aren’t there or do things that you wouldn’t normally do.

Drugs can make your heart beat faster, your body move slower, your throat feel dry and your pupils get bigger.  It can also affect the way you see, hear, feel, smell, think, move, eat, and also how often you go to the bathroom.  Now who would want to do that to their body?  Because, I know I don’t.

These are reasons why I choose to be above the influence of drugs, alcohol and tobacco because if my family found out that I had been doing drugs they wouldn’t be very happy, and what if my friends found out?  They wouldn’t think of me the same way.  When I grow up I want to be an NBA girl’s basketball coach and what would the players think of me?  Drugs, alcohol and tobacco can cause serious damage and even death.  Just think one wrong move and all you hear are sirens…

I stand above the influence.

1st Place Red Ribbon Week Essay - Why I would choose not to be under the influence of Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco - By Hannah Charbonneau

Try to imagine a life where you can’t live without drugs and are so addicted you can’t stop.  I have always wanted to be healthy and wanted to be active and to be fit my whole life.  Sometimes I wonder to myself what it would be like for those people that can’t breathe, can’t talk and have to constantly be in and out of the hospital. 

As a child I made a promise to myself, to my family, and to the people that count on me, to never even think about starting drugs, alcohol and tobacco at all.  While growing up I have had the best friends that a girl could ever ask for in my life and could never imagine drugs taking control of them.  If I could make one promise in my life that would be to be DRUG FREE.

People might ask, “I wonder what a glass of wine or one cigarette would taste like?”  This is what I say to that, “Why”?  People think “Oh, trying it once won’t hurt anything,” but they’re wrong.  Trying it once can change your life forever. 

If I could change one thing, it would be to make all drugs, alcohol and tobacco forbidden.  If you think about the people that are so addicted to drugs that they would do anything to get their hands on just one cigarette or just one bottle of beer.  How would they be able to live life, have a good career, or be a good role model to their kids?  I would think it would be very difficult if they let drugs take control of them.  To me, all I can say is, “Why did you start in the first place?”  Most of them would probably just say, “I didn’t think trying it one time could ruin my life forever”. 

I don’t base my life on what the future brings or what it holds.  What I know is that those promises that I have made will last all my life.  I know one thing that will not change, and it’s my promise that no matter what, I pledge to be DRUG FREE forever.  This is my story of why I don’t want to be under the influence of drugs, alcohol or tobacco.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Today is the Great American Smokeout

The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting — even for one day — smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk. The health benefits of quitting start immediately from the moment of smoking cessation. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes — a bit under 1 in every 5 adults. As of 2012, there were also 13.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.It also remains as one of the most expensive habits not only to the smoker but to society as well.

Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. The American Cancer Society can tell you about the steps you can take to quit smoking and provide quit-smoking programs, resources and support that can increase your chances of quitting successfully. To learn about the available tools, call them at 1-800-227-2345 or go to http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/greatamericansmokeout/index?gclid=CNeT39aE-MECFYSPMgodky0ApQ.

Youth Leadership Council members in Van Buren County will be holding a variety of activities both in their school and in the community that bring awareness to the dangers of tobacco. The activities that will be happening in the school are in an effort to further reduce youth tobacco use in our community.

For more information on the YLC organization or any of their activities you may contact them at info@vbsafecoalition.com or 319-293-6412. You may also find out more information on their website: www.ylc/vbsafecoalition.com or look them up on Facebook!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Red Ribbon Week Activities

Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) members held a variety of activities for Red Ribbon Week this year. They wanted to send a message in both their school and community about the dangers of Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco. They also wanted to reach a younger generation and encourage them to be above the influence and never start using any of these dangerous substances.  Both the Van Buren Middle School and High School members participated in the following activities:

High school members placed Red Ribbons around the community to remind residents of the importance of Red Ribbon Week and to hopefully encourage them to speak to their children about the dangers of these substances. Middle School members also placed the ribbons on the school grounds so that students, staff and visitors were reminded of their message.

High school members participated in Peer Teaching with 6th grade students. This year the YLC members wanted to include an essay contest as a part of their teaching so they provided an essay template a few weeks before they came to the classroom. 6th graders were asked to write an essay on why they were above the influence of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The essays were read and judged by the high school YLC members. The winners of the contest were: 1st Place- Hannah Charbonneau, 2nd place- Isabel Manning, 3rd Place- Summer Brown and Honorable Mention- Kolbie Bass. These girls won a private lunch with the high school YLC members during Red Ribbon Week. Be watching for the winning essays to be published in upcoming SAFE Coalition publications.

Both middle and high school students participated in dress up days every day during Red Ribbon Week and winners of the dress up days were awarded prizes each day along with the morning announcements that shared a different fact each day related to Red Ribbon Week.

On Wednesday the high school members set up a mystery box during their lunch hour. The box had items inside it that represented things you might experience as a smoker; rotten teeth, diseased lung and a cancerous tongue. Participants were only allowed to feel inside the box to try to guess the items. There were 13 students who guessed the correct items and these students were put into a drawing to win a Red Ribbon Week prize! The mystery box was a big hit and many students wanted to try to figure out what was inside!

Also on Wednesday the middle school YLC members set up a Pledge Wall and Face Painting for their peers. Students were asked to sign the pledge wall to be drug, alcohol and tobacco free. There were a large number of middle school and high school students who signed the pledge.

Both middle and high school students also wrote articles for the newspaper and were a part of KMEM’s Coffee Break. These initiatives were in an effort to get information out into the public about Red Ribbon Week and things community members could do to get involved.

For more information on Red Ribbon Week or any YLC activities you may visit the website at www.vbsafecoalition.com, email at info@vbsafecoalition.com or via phone at 319-293-6412.