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Red Ribbon Week observance by South Brunswick High School spreads awareness of drug prevention

SOUTH BRUNSWICK – A collaborative effort through South Brunswick High School (SBHS) is spreading awareness of drug prevention by educating youth in the community about the dangers of substance abuse.

“We tackle what many consider a taboo topic, and break down the stigma surrounding addiction and other mental health issues by providing students and other community members with resources and research while inviting them to ask questions about addiction,” Nora Abdelfattah said.

“Youth 2 Youth (Y2Y), Incorruptible.US, and the Students for Public Health Club (SPHC) aim to create a community where everyone is accepted, regardless of their history of addiction, and if someone is struggling with addiction or mental health issues, we want to provide them with the resources they need to get better. Red Ribbon Week is all about reaching out and starting that conversation to bring someone onto the road of recovery, or prevent them from becoming addicted in the first place,” she said.

This is the second annual Red Ribbon Week event observed by SBHS.

“Last year we had an in-person event in our school’s cafeterias where we had trivia games and the opportunity for students to sign pledges and receive merchandise (water bottles, lanyards, cups, etc). This year, we wanted to create a virtual event that we could open up to the entire community, while maintaining the interactive portion of the event. The raffles and trivia night, while not an in-person event, still allow the community to gather together in the spirit of drug prevention and acceptance,” Nora said.

The date of the trivia event is to be determined, probably later in November. Check the website for updates.

The newly created website also includes research topics, a podcast, statistics, fliers, videos, a pledge and additional outside resources. Although Red Ribbon Week takes place Oct. 25-30, the website will stay active to provide resources as needed.

Nora currently serves as the blood drive coordinator for the SPHC, is the cofounder/representative of Incorruptible.US, and is an advisory board member of Y2Y. She has been involved with Y2Y since it was first formed in 2017, during her freshman year.

“I’ve stuck with it since, and the club has since allowed me to take on a wide variety of leadership roles and service projects, like coordinating this event and helping plan the 2019 and 2020 Suicide Prevention Walks,” she said.

Yashi Srivastava is a fellow senior, and is the other co-founder/representative of Incorruptible.US. She is also on the advisory board of Y2Y, and serves as the vice president for the SPHC. She has worked alongside Nora to give many presentations and projects, such as Take Down Tobacco Day in 2019 and 2020.

Dheeksha Sudhakar and Stephanie Yau are juniors who served on the Incorruptible.US, Y2Y and SPHC boards.

Maryam Elfeky and Rohan Jiadani are sophomores who assisted with editing a podcast episode the group released with the Red Ribbon Week site, as well as a promotional video and flier.

The students are advised by Aaron Millman, a student assistance counselor who founded Y2Y during the 2017-18 school year, and Incorruptible.US in early 2019; Kara Henderson, a student assistance counselor who has long assisted with projects in Y2Y and Incorruptible.Us, and who has experience working with middle schoolers and high schoolers; and Donna Moreen, the school nurse, who founded and co-runs the SPHC and co-founded Incorruptible.US with Millman in 2019, and coordinates mental health fairs, blood drives, and the “Hearts Hallway” in SBHS where students pay $5 to buy a heart and write their name on it to fund a vaccination program in Africa.

 

For more information on Red Ribbon Week, visit https://sites.google.com/view/red-ribbon-week/home