A Healthy Community: Drug Free Message for All To See

During the Jackson County United Way (JCUW) Community Conversations last year a 4H Junior Leader shared, “Drug Free- Red Ribbon Week should be supported by the whole community showing that adults are behind this.”  Because of this one valuable idea; I believed there was an opportunity to boost the community’s awareness and encourage everyone to share a message of drug-free living.  

It has been amazing what this one idea has turned into, there is so much energy around this it has been exciting to see.  When we started the Harwood Community Conversations in 2016, we were told if we did the process, we would see small pockets of change begin to form and that the community would start working together in new ways.  Red Ribbon Week and the United Against Drugs work is a very real example of pockets of change emerging. 

JCUW has had the opportunity to present the findings of what we heard to hundreds of people since this spring, here is what we’ve seen happen: 

  • Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 108 distributed to 750 United Against Drugs Postcards during Scoop the Loop.

  • Drug Free Council and the Grassroots Action Team co-coordinated the best attended National Drug Overdose Awareness event in August.

  • Seymour Main Street recruited 34 volunteers with the Seymour High School Art Department to paint Red Ribbon Week messaging on 18 downtown businesses.

  • Seymour SADD & Seymour Police School Resource Officer, Keith Williams recruited support from 11 organizations and businesses for a United Against Drugs Banner on Highway 50 at the Schneck owned Old State Police Post.

  • Brownstown Police School Resource Officer, John Reichenbacker recruited support from 21 organizations & businesses for a United Against Drugs Banner on Highway 50 at the Jackson County Courthouse.

  • Seymour Community Schools increased their engagement by placing “Owl Always Be Drug Free” Banners at every school in the district; further use of anti-drug curriculum; and week-long celebrations.

  • Crothersville Community Schools walked United Against Drugs on Friday, October 20th at 2 PM.

  • Seymour Middle School Student Government Advisor, Jamey Doriot, and Seymour-Jackson Elementary School Social Worker, Cassie Fox, facilitated SMS student-wide volunteer engagement with students assembling 2,500 red pinwheels that will make their way home with elementary student during Red Ribbon Week, for students to put in their yards to pledge a drug free life.

  • Brownstown Teens for Change will be making a video with an anti-drug use message in November.

  • JCUW has focused our Dine United efforts to include tips to talk to your kids about substance abuse.

  • Seymour Main Street and Beautiful Chaos have coordinated a community-wide celebration of Red Ribbon Week called Get Loud Now on Friday, October 27th from 5-8 PM at the Seymour Area Farmers Market Lot.  Food Trucks will be available for purchase with music and stories about overcoming addiction.

  • Jackson County Drug Free Council and the Jackson County Health Department in coordination with the Seymour Police Department will be hosting Drug Take Back Days throughout the county on Saturday, October 28th in order to help people appropriately discard unused or unwanted drugs. 

This is just the starting place for our county.  We see opportunities and possibilities for working together to make a bigger impact.  The focus of promoting Red Ribbon Week, was really a much bigger idea than the 4H student ever dreamed.  County residents want to see a safe, healthy, and drug free place to live; starting with the aspiration allows all individuals to consider what they can do to change our county’s attitudes and norms.  Each individual can attribute to our goal as a county, what will you do? Contact me to talk about what you would like to do, 812-522-5450.