Red Ribbon Week spreads awareness

Sarah Komisky

October marks the month of bringing awareness to schools across the country about drugs and their negative effects through Red Ribbon week.

Saddleback College hosted its own event in honor of the week held on upper campus and inside the Students Services Center, Wednesday, Oct. 24.

Where many Red Ribbon events strictly offer one-dimensional information on prevention programs, warnings of drug use, and the calling to refrain from them, Saddleback offered more.Saddleback College brought awareness to become involved in helping the community with agencies like Laura’s House, SPIN (Serving People in Need), Orange County Youth and Familiy Services, and Gary’s Place for Kids.

Despite the tragedy of the recent fires, upper campus still filled up with various booths and representatives from agencies that came out to the annual event.

“It’s better than I expected in spite of all the fires, all the agents are still here, like the FBI,” said Peggy Dakin, Program Specialist in Human Services. “We had a great turnout because we had [agencies] that didn’t even sign up. We probably have 45-50 here.”

“Gary’s Place for Kids” provides invaluable grief support for children ages 5-18 that have lost a loved one.

“This is a wonder-program. It’s a place for [the children] to process this pain and become productive members of society,” said Madeline Tucci Tannehil, Founder of Gary’s Place for Kids. “Anyone can benefit from it.”

Tannehil encourages those who are majoring in this kind of field to come and volunteer.

“I’ve had students in human services come and are very interested. We train them specifically in children’s grievances then they get to facilitate an actual group,” Tannehil said. “It takes [students] one step further in their studies.”

Sgt. Pingon of the U.S. Army found out about the event through the mail.

“We are here, just recruiting,” Pingon said. “Trying to find new soldiers to fill the ranks.”

Tina Fietsam, Clinical Director of Orange County Youth and Family Services, offers a wide variety of classes and programs for those in need.

“We offer a program for first-time youthful offenders and we also offer 47 drug treatment facilities for women,” Fietsam said. “We also teach parent education classes for children who have been removed [from] high school or are a risk.”

Orange County Youth and Family Services are like many other agencies which continue to come year after year to join in on the Red Ribbon event.

“It seems about the same since last year but we have been getting more related services,” Fietsam said. “I have gotten lots of students from a group or class. We are always looking for interns.”

Ricky Mendoza, 19, psychology, came to the event in a search of exploring new career options.

“I wanted see the different job fields they are offering,” Mendoza said. “I like the Orange County Sheriffs Department because I want to eventually get into law enforcement.”

Amy Zieske, 22, human services, coincidentally noticed the event on the campus.

“I honestly didn’t know they were having this Red Ribbon event, we were just passing by,” Zieske said. “I liked it, it was really helpful for my major.”


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