Oct. 8, 2002 With illegal drug usage continuing to plague the Virgin Islands, the Education Department joins with its counterparts around the nation in observing Red Ribbon Week Oct. 20 to 27.
"Hearts and Minds Together for Peaceful, Drug-Free Lives" is this year's local theme and highlights the need to focus on removing the sale of illegal drugs and their use from daily activities.
"Our aim is to heighten the level of awareness of the destructiveness and dangers of both illegal and inappropriately used legal drugs, especially among our students and young adults," said Joyce Thomas, coordinator of Red Ribbon activities for the territory.
On St. John, the Education Department will hold a Red Ribbon march starting at 9 a.m. Oct. 24. It runs from the V.I. National Park ballfield to Julius E. Sprauve School.
On St. Thomas the week kicks off Oct. 20 with a church service at 10:30 a.m. at the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ in Estate Hoffman. On Oct. 21, people who want to pledge not to use drugs can sign up at all post offices.
On Oct. 24, a march from Emile Griffith Ballpark to Emancipation Garden will begin at 8:30 a.m.
On Oct. 25, students are urged to wear red to signify their pledge to fight drugs. More guest speakers will be in the schools.
Oct. 26 will be Sports Day, with the Weed and Seed program sponsoring activities from noon to 6 p.m. at the Bovoni public housing community. Games will include basketball using goggles that make you appear drugged, musical chairs, balloon games, a three-legged race, kick ball, and an egg and spoon game.
The week wraps up Oct. 27 with a family day at Magens Bay shed No. 2. It begins at 10 a.m. and features games, food and music. The public is invited free of charge. And that evening will be Karaoke Night at 7 p.m. at Iggie's Restaurant at Bolongo Bay Beach Resort.
On St. Croix, the Unity Coalition is sponsoring a Drug Free Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Agriculture Department grounds in Lower Love. The event features children's activities and games.
Additionally, the V.I. National Guard will be on hand with some of those goggles that show wearers what the world looks like when they're on drugs. "You cannot walk a straight line," Thomas said.
St. Croix will hold four marches. On Oct. 23, students from Charles Emmanuel School will march around the Aureo Diaz Heights community starting at 10 a.m.
On Oct. 24, Eulalie Rivera School students will march around the Grove Place community beginning at 9 a.m. Students from Lew Muckle School will march at 10 a.m. at the Sion Farm Complex.
On Oct. 25, Evelyn Williams School students will march from the school to Centerline Road starting at 9 a.m.
Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 after a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agent, Enrique Camarena, died in the line of duty while investigating the drug pipeline in Mexico. The territory joined the program shortly thereafter.
All activities are open to the public.
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