Reinforcing the Importance of Responsible Decision Making

red ribbon collage

Programs and presentations that emphasized making healthy choices filled the days at the middle school and high school during Red Ribbon Week, Oct. 22-26. Events were organized and sponsored by the schools’ Students Against Destructive Decisions clubs, using the theme of the 2018 national Red Ribbon Campaign, “Life is Your Journey, TravelDrug Free.”

From the dangers of drugs to the consequences of inappropriate use of social media, students at both schools were reminded of the importance of making decisions that are healthy, both emotionally and physically. 

Among many activities, high school juniors heard a presentation from two social workers from the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Amanda Cioffi and Lauren Navarra, who is an LVHS alumna, shared facts and anecdotes about the use of marijuana, alcohol, opiates and vaping. They discussed healthy ways in which students can reduce stress and anxiety, such as exercise, meditation and spending time with friends.

Middle school students attended a presentation by Katie Duffy Schumacher, the founder of Don’t Press Send, an organization that promotes a mindful approach to using social media. Schumacher stressed the importance of thinking before posting to social media, the ramifications that negative posts can have and the ways in which social media can be used appropriately. Schumacher presented her program to parents on the evening of Oct. 24.

High school SADD Club members visited middle school classes to help facilitate discussions on topics related to drinking, decision-making and peer pressure. Middle school SADD Club members asked students to write down how they make good decisions and then hung hundreds of answers in one of the school corridors.

High school psychologists Adriana Marin and Kristen Sylvan, the high school SADD advisers, helped club members coordinate the week’s events. Middle school SADD Club advisers Liz DeGennaro and Amanda Noren helped coordinate the middle school events. Cooperation and assistance from psychologists, guidance counselors and administrators were appreciated.

“The SADD clubs celebrate Red Ribbon Week to help engage students and staff in conversations regarding healthy decision-making and positive coping strategies,” Dr. Marin said. “The goal of the week is to help empower our students if they are ever faced with difficult decisions.”