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Drug Free…. The WAY to BE: City observes Red Ribbon Week

By BECKY CRISSMAN
becky.crissman@cordeledispatch.com

CORDELE — This week the city has been observing Red Ribbon Week as part of a continued effort to encourage area young people to live a drug free lifestyle.
The week kicked off on Friday, October 23 at the Crisp County Pre-K. Schools are observing the week in a number of ways, with special presentations and special dress up days for each day of the week. City and County law enforcement personnel, along with CHAMPS Role Models, met Monday to tie Red Ribbons at county line signs as a reminder to live a drug free lifestyle. The Cordele Police Department and Crisp County Sheriff’s Office joined together in a red ribbon roadblock and tied ribbons on the cars of travelers through Cordele.
“It is important that our young people know that we support them,” said Sheriff Billy Hancock. “Not just for a week, but all year long. Red Ribbon Week is about raising awareness. We do that through continued drug education throughout the year such as the CHAMPS program.”
Hancock said parents can help out at home by educating their children at home, teaching them the dangers of drugs.
“Talk to your kids about drugs and bullying,” he said. “Sometimes bullying turns a child to drugs as a way of fitting in. Make your child feel comfortable coming to you. Ask them about what they have been learning this week.”
Sheriff Hancock has already been to schools this week. He spoke to Crisp County Middle School students about the steering clear of not only illegal drugs, but drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes which often serve as a gateway to more illicit drugs and are just as dangerous.
“It is a humbling experience for me, going into our area schools and interacting with our young people,” he said. “The kids know you by name. They come up to you and give you a hug. They are happy you are there. That means a lot. It is important to me to be a part of the community, especially where are youth are concerned.”
Hancock said it is important that parents teach their children not to be afraid of them.
“We want them to run to us if they are ever in trouble, not away from us,” he said. “If they see a deputy or police officer and things are going good, they can give them a thumbs up… If they are in need of assistance or things are not going good they can give a thumbs down and that will alert law enforcement to come and help them.”