Recently, I had the honor of being the keynote speaker for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA) in St. Louis, Missouri. I must first say that these folks are high class. The event planner had interns working the event and they really made the students who attended feel important.
The theme of the event was YOUth MVP and I told students that it’s time for them to stand out from all the other students by making right choices and staying away from drugs.
I made it a point to say that everyone tells students to just say no to drugs. This is good advice but I take it a step further and tell students what to say yes to. Let me explain. If you can get students to say yes to graduating high school, they will most likely say no to drugs. The mind of a human being is constantly competing to act a certain way and that’s why it’s important to help student know what they are saying yes to.
Try this, the next time you talk to a teenager, ask them what they say yes to in life, what are their goals. Then tell them that if they say yes to that goal, then what do they have to say no to and see what they say.
I’d love to come to your school to help your students say YES to all their goals.
The following Red Ribbon Week logos can be saved and used on your activity sheets or letters to parents, powerpoint presentations, websites. Please DO NOT use logos to make tshirts or put on any product that can be sold. In fact, Red Ribbon Week Shirts can be bought from the zazzle.com/redribbonweek store.
Recently, Upper Darby High School in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, hosted a drinking and driving assembly after school in their gymnasium. Fliers were posted all around school leading up to the event and over 300 teenage students voluntarily attended. Groups like MADD and SADD are known for having events like this to keep students from making unwise decisions.
The event began with a traffic and accident attorney talking about the new Pennsylvania law that states that people cannot text on their phones while driving.
After the attorney, students listened to a drug and alcohol prevention speaker, Fabian Ramirez, who took the teens on a journey into the effects that drugs and alcohol have on the body. “Teens get drunk twice as fast as adults”, Ramirez said after stating that the average teenage brain takes 20 years to fully develop and any psychoactive drug including alcohol can curtail the developmental process. Ramirez went on to say that, “the brain working like computer software does, but alcohol acts like a virus in which is switches the wire in your brain causes the normal senses in your body to lose normal function abilities”.
Ramirez took time to educate teens about alcohol going as far as demonstrating what happens when one binge drinks and gets alcohol poisoning. Students were grossed out when he talked about how drunks are not able to control their vomit and can pass out before they can ask for help. Since alcohol takes a while to enter the blood stream, teens that drink do not feel the after effects that beer and hard liquor have on the body until after they arrived home. This is why there are numerous cases of teens who have been found dead in their rooms after a long night of drinking. Still students hate the fact that they have to wait until the age of 21 to legally drink.
Upper Darby High School did a fantastic job of creating a drinking course in the gym. Students were able to wear drunk goggles during the event and get in a wheelchair and try to navigate through orange rubber cones. The majority were unsuccessful hitting cones along the way which could have been pedestrians in real life. After the drunk goggles were taken off, students were still seeing spots and not able to fully gain vision right away. Many were heard commenting on how hard it was to focus. That was the focus of the day, to educate teens on alcohol abuse so they think twice before drinking when they are not supposed to.
The student council of Laurel High School held a Drug Awareness Day and invited youth motivational speaker Fabian Ramirez along with Montana’s Attorney General. More than 20 speakers from different agencies were invited to speak at workshops throughout the day. Fabian kicked off the day by using humor to communicate the harmful effects of using drugs and alcohol.
Ramirez used the analogy of how the brain works the same way as basic operating software that a computer has. The more experiences we have in life, the more our brain develops, as if it is installing software. We grow by using our 5 senses: Touch, Smell, Sight, Taste and Hearing. Our brain develops over a 20 year period, and anything we do to stop the growth of our brain can be detrimental.
When teens use psychoactive drugs such as alcohol or marijuana, their brain could skip a step it needs to develop properly. Drugs mess with the basic functions that brains have and it causes it to go wild. Ramirez said it’s like a computer having a virus, it effects what it was created to do. Fabian used the example of smoking marijuana. When a person smokes, it doesn’t matter if they just finished eating at a buffet, their brain will tell them that they are hungry. This is why teens often get the munchies after smoking.
The scariest part of using psychoactive drugs is that they cause your heart rate to increase and if your body doesn’t know how to control your heart rate, it could stop beating. Marijuana causes the blood vessels in the eyeball to expand. What happens is arteries in the eyeball expands making the eyes to appear bloodshot and the eyelids will want to shut. This is why Glaucoma patients are prescribed marijuana to smoke. When teens abuse this drug, it causes them to have mood changes, often feeling food with constant laughter. We must continue to educate teens on why staying away from drug usage is important not only during their teens years but throughout their lifetime. If you are a school administrator, you may consider having anti-drug activities and hiring a Red Ribbon Week Speaker every October to help reduce the demand for drugs in your community.
Fabian is an energetic, humorous and very talented speaker who uses his experience to connect with young people. His message is strong and clear, and I highly recommend him! – Daniel J. Dunlap, Special Agent
Is your school going to celebrate Red Ribbon Week this October?
As you know every year schools across America wear red ribbons to show their support to remain drug free.
One of the best ways to get your students fired up during the campaign is to hire a red ribbon week speaker to address the issues with drugs and alcohol. Students love to hear from others who have experience with drugs and talk about why drug prevention is so important. School assemblies are the best avenue to share information to the whole school at one time.
In addition to bringing in a guest speaker, schools can have red ribbon week activities that students can do during the week. For example, schools have done contests during the week to get everyone involved. You can see who can decorate their door the best. Another idea is to have hallway projects that each class can do.
You want the kids to take action so you may consider purchasing or creating a banner with a drug free slogan and have all the kids sign it so that they can pledge to be drug free.
If you would like more information about hiring a speaker, please contact us.
Are you considering having Fabian Ramirez to come and speak to your school, but are not sure about when or on what topic? Here are some creative ways to utilize his expertise and motivation to help make the most of your school events.
Red Ribbon Week is a critical part of our country’s drug prevention efforts. Sadly, too many costly, inefficient efforts utilized by most schools fail to make a big enough impact because they aren’t engaging enough to the students.
How can you get your students to really feel inspired and motivated to take the pledge to be drug free unless you can get them to understand it on an emotional level? The answer is Fabian Ramirez.
Fabian’s ability to inspire youth to reach higher and lead better lives is astounding. He isn’t just motivation only, he also provides your students with the realities of the consequences that will most likely face them if they choose to allow drugs into their lives. Keep in mind that Red Ribbon Week usually takes place at the end of October so be sure to book Fabian well in advance.
Fabian also has experience speaking at schools during Cultural Awareness Week, Health Day and many other events. Some of his specialties are speaking about bullying, dropout prevention and youth leadership.
Are you worried about the costs of having a speaker come and speak to your students? You don’t need to be any longer because depending on your theme, federal grant money might be available to cover any expenses.
For example, Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (SDFSCA) might approve a funding request for a speaker who addresses alcohol and drug prevention, sexual abstinence, tobacco use, teen pregnancy, gangs, crime and violence prevention. All of these are topics Fabian covers with incredible effects on the students.
To start the process of getting the grant money, check with your school district or federal government office to find out who is dispensing these funds in your state. It will be grant money well spent as your student body responds and takes on a new fresh perspective. All you need to do now is simply request an application form from them and get the ball rolling.
The next time you need a guest speaker for an assembly or a youth event where you want to truly make a deep impact that will effect the lives of your students, look no further than Fabian Ramirez.
Contact Fabian today about the possibility of him coming to your school or youth event.
A lot of people know that Red Ribbon Week is a week that celebrates drug prevention and is a week where people can show their support for this campaign. This celebration is also considered to be one of the oldest in the world for this cause and is celebrated every year in the U.S. in October. This celebration is also one that not only celebrates a drug free community but also one that is free of alcohol, tobacco and violence.
This celebration called Red Ribbon Week is actually an event that was started after a DEA agent was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 1985. A week after such a gruesome incident occurred, the people in the hometown of the slain DEA agent wore red ribbons to help honor the drug enforcement officer. This soon became the symbol for drug prevention and for the annual tradition that is now called the Red Ribbon Celebration. The use of the red ribbon as a symbol for this event and for showing support against drug abuse and drug addiction first began as a statewide campaign in California in 1985 which soon became a national anti-drug campaign in 1988 with the help of then-first lady Nancy Reagan.
Today, the celebration of Red Ribbon Week continues with schools all across America encouraging their students to wear the symbolic red ribbon on their chests for the whole last week of October. This is not only in commemoration of the DEA officer who sacrificed his life in the name of drug abuse prevention but also in the name of the people whose lives will be saved if they are made to be aware of the dangers of drugs, smoking and alcohol. The Red Ribbon Coalition helps with setting up these events in different school sites every year and provides the volunteers and school coordinators with training for the campaign.
Book Fabian today to speak at your Red Ribbon week school assembly.
When you need to talk to students about drug abuse and drug abuse prevention, it always helps to get the message across if you let someone they can easily relate to talk to them about this.
When it comes to speaking to Latino students about this particular problem, having someone they can easily relate to, like a Latino youth speaker or a peer councilor of the same ethnicity, can greatly help you. This may be because of the fact that youth of different ethnicities have different ways of expressing themselves and of absorbing information that they get. Getting someone they can easily relate to and someone who can talk to them in their “language” can make your message come across more effectively.
It is important for you to understand that when you are thinking of speaking to Latino students about drugs and drug abuse prevention, you will need to get someone that can easily answer the many questions that may pop up regarding these issues. Aside from getting a Latino youth speaker or peer councilor to talk to these youngsters about the dangers of drug abuse and where they can find help, you might also want to consider getting a Hispanic law enforcement officer or a Latino DEA officer to talk to these kids about these issues.
Speaking to Latino students about these problems that can be found in a lot of schools all across the U.S. with the use of people that they can easily relate to is a good idea since this will give them a chance to ask questions they might find easier to ask in their own language. Efforts that you make in this regard can greatly help students from this ethnicity understand that people from all walks of life do suffer from drug related problems and that people from their community and minority are there to help them deal with teen issues.