Foundation for a Drug-Free World Commemorated the 25th Anniversary of Red Ribbon Week

Pledge signing by Hollywood High choir.

Californians for Drug-Free Youth [CADFY] and the Foundation for a Drug-Free World commemorated the 25th anniversary of Red Ribbon Week on Wednesday, October 26, with an awards ceremony in Hollywood.

Our communities have faced an onslaught of challenges and hardships over issues due to substance abuse. And I believe that our children have the right to make informed positive choices and pursue their dreams. They have the right to grow up in a safe and drug-free community. And that is why I am so very proud of our partnership with the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, said Mr. John Redman, executive director of CADFY.

The Red Ribbon Week Awards honored civic and community leaders in drug education, prevention and rehabilitation.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca received the Drug Prevention through Education Award for his work to rehabilitate offenders through education-based incarceration.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa received the Community Prevention and Awareness Award for his comprehensive anti-gang strategy. Mayor Villaraigosa launched the Summer Night Lights Program four years ago, providing organized nighttime activities in parks for at-risk youth during the months of the highest gang violence. The results have been dramatic: a 17 percent reduction in violent gang-related crimes and an 86 percent reduction in gang-related homicides the first year of operation. The award was accepted on his behalf by Ms. Alicia Avalos, Director of the Summer Night Lights Program.

The Substance Abuse Treatment Award went to Mr. Henry Lozano, founder of Red Ribbon Week. Mr. Lozano now heads Los Angeles County Teen Challenge and Urban Ministries Initiatives and the 10 Teen Challenge centers across Southern California returned some 700 program graduates to drug-free lives in the past year.

The Say No To Drugs team received the Drug Prevention Outreach Award for their work promoting drug-free living through the Say No to Drugs Holiday Classic 5K/10K, the Artists Against Drugs Art Show, and the Students Run LA 5K and 10K, their work with the LA Marathon, and their massive distribution of The Truth About Drugs booklets. Victorville Federal Prison Warden Ms. Tereser Banks received the Prison Education Reform Program Award for her groundbreaking work to rehabilitate inmates through vocational training and drug education, using The Truth About Drugs curriculum.

Mr. Fred Thomas was recognized with a special award for his work educating youth on the harmful effects of marijuana and other illegal substances.