This year Vida Del Norte partnered up with other groups and helped to organize a truly memorable Red Ribbon Week in Questa. Through out the week the individuals involved in organizing Red Ribbon Week in Questa kept remarking that this was the best Red Ribbon Week yet.

Red Ribbon Week is an alcohol, tobacco, and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign observed annually in October in the United States. It began as a tribute to fallen DEA special agent Enrique Camerena in 1985. According to the United States DEA, Red Ribbon Week is the nation's largest and longest-running drug awareness and prevention program.[1]

Red Ribbon Week is a perfect time to celebrate how good it can be to live Drug Free and it is also a time to honor the people who have lost their lives because of drugs. This year in Questa, Red Ribbon Week was both a lot of fun and also a time to learn, reflect, honor and show support for one another.

Red Ribbon Week was kicked off this year with a speaker named Fabian Ramirez that Vida Del Norte invited to come speak on Monday, October 25 to the junior and high school students at Questa High School. Fabian Ramirez is an anti-bullying speaker and drug prevention specialist based out of Washington, DC. He speaks to students at schools across the country. He used his knack for storytelling to talk to Questa junior and high school students about his personal experiences with bullying and also talked about the dangers of using various kinds of drugs and alcohol. He intertwined his stories with facts and jokes which made his presentation as enjoyable as it was informative. He kept the students listening, learning and laughing through his entire presentation.

Fabian Ramirez told the students how valuable it can be to try to not just be “a student” in school but to strive to be “the student” that people notice and remember, that influences others and that people look up to. He also talked about how important it is for young people to have good adult role models who encourage them and remind them that they are important and have potential and that this is a great responsibility.

Vida Del Norte is able to share short excerpts of recorded video from his presentation. These can be viewed on YouTube here:

The next event that took place in Questa during Red Ribbon Week was a Candle Light Vigil on Wednesday, October 27. The vigil was organized by the Harvest Questa church and was held in the center of Questa. The vigil was a time for the community to come together to think about, remember and pray for those who suffer, have lost their lives because of substance misuse and also celebrate, honor and pray for those who are in recovery. Various members of the community spoke about the pain endured by themselves and their families because of losing a loved one because of substance misuse and also about the hardship of having a loved one who struggles with using. Others spoke out about positive changes they are experiencing in recovery. At the vigil, Pastor Peter Martinez and Pastor Gayle Martinez from the Living Word Ministries church in Questa let people know that Living Word has been hosting a Grief Share group on Wednesdays at 6pm and also a Cristian Recovery Program called “New Thirst” that is on Fridays at 6pm. Both of these groups are open to the community.

On Thursday, October 28, the National Guard Counterdrug Task Force was invited to land a helicopter in the Questa Elementary school parking lot. Other members of the task force brought a climbing wall and an inflatable obstacle course that they set up outside the school. The elementary school students were encouraged to wear Halloween costumes that day to remember to “spook the drugs away.” The students took turns challenging themselves by climbing the wall and going through the obstacle course. They also were invited to go inside the helicopter.
Vida Del Norte is extremely grateful to the National Guard Counterdrug Task Force and the staff at the elementary school for helping to coordinate that day and for being such good role models to the students.

Here are some photos from the day that the National Guard visited the elementary school:

On Friday, October 29, Vida Del Norte participated in a Trunk or Treat event that was organized by the Village of Questa and took place in the parking lot by the village municipal buildings. It was great to see how many members of the community showed up to decorate their trunks and give out candy. It was also a lot of fun to see all families that came in their costumes to trick-or-treat. Vida Del Norte took the opportunity to spread a message about prevention by putting up pictures on their trunk that said “Say Boo to Drugs” and “Don't let Drugs Turn You into a Zombie.” During the Trunk-or-Treat event, volunteers for Vida Del Norte, William and Nancy Borges asked participants to sign cards to say thank you to our county law enforcement officers for all that they do to prevent substance misuse in our communities.
Here are some photos from the Trunk or Treat Event by the Village of Questa Municipal Building

Later on Friday evening, Vida Del Norte hosted a Halloween Teen Night that was very well attended. The good attendance at the teen nights is motivation for Vida Del Norte and other community groups to keep providing activities for the youth in Questa so that they have things to do that don't involve alcohol or drugs.
Here are some photos from the Halloween Teen Night:

Red Ribbon Week came to a close on Sunday, October 31 which was also the day that Harvest Questa and Living Word Ministries came together to host a Harvest Fest. This harvest fest had games, another trunk-or-treat event, pumpkin decorating, a bouncy house and other fun alcohol and drug free activities for the community.
Thank you to everyone who helped to organize activities for Red Ribbon Week and thank you to all of the students, families and other community members who participated this year. Thank you to everyone who shares how good drug free can be.