Awareness (Sean Lara/Lariat Staff)
The 20th Annual Red Ribbon Criminal Justice/Substance Career Fair was held last Wednesday in the Saddleback College quad. About 45 agencies took part in the event, ranging from substance abuse facilities, law enforcement, treatment centers and mental health services. Each booth had information on the services and resources they provide as well as job opportunities.
Richard Goodman, a part-time human services instructor, is the founder of the event.
The National Family Partnership founded the Nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign in 1986 in memory of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, an undercover agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration who was kidnapped and murdered in Mexico, while on an assignment.
According to the NFP’s website, friends and family members began to wear a red satin ribbon in memory of Camarena.
Parent coalitions created to curb drug and alcohol abuse followed suit, using him as their model, adapting the symbol of the red ribbon.
“(They) embraced his belief that one person can make a difference,” according to the website.
It was the first time that Cheryl Kanner, director of The Life Energy Center attended the Red Ribbon event at Saddleback.
“The center provides a multidimensional approach, particularly focusing on recovery at any stage,” said Kanner.
“I use a different way than most recovery places. We encourage and practice energy-focused meditation. Inner lightwork meditation and training brings out the awakening of one’s true self gradually and increases the joy of living.”
Suzie Mendoza, a legal assistant at the law offices of Virginia L. Landry, was handing out red bracelets embedded with DUIQueen.com.
“We make it as easy as possible for our clients. Getting a DUI or any other criminal charge is stressful enough,” Mendoza said. “If we can make it so that our client doesn’t need to see a judge, or deal with the DMV more than need be, than that’s what we are going to do. We get DUI cases the most.”
Many of the booths were sponsored by various non-profit agencies and organizations. The services offered at these facilities include free screening for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy testing, parenting classes and prenatal care. Others held open and closed meetings to the public for recovery of drugs, alcohol, dependency, and living with an addict.
Some offer classes on how to be a better parent and become more active in your child’s life, for both men and woman.
One center, which keeps its identify anonymous to protect its clients, provides food, clothing, childcare, group therapy, job coaching, and tuition assistance to both pregnant women as well as those who already have children.