Children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don't, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

Introducing The 2015 National Red Ribbon Week Youth Ambassador

Posted on 07/22/2015 @ 05:29 PM

The National Family Partnership is proud to announce that this year’s National Red Ribbon Week Youth Ambassador is Johanna Colón of Raleigh, North Carolina. Johanna was selected for her tremendous spirit, wonderful dance skills, commitment to healthy activities, kindness towards others, leadership qualities, self-confidence and her self-respect – all demonstrated in a three-minute, viral YouTube video, viewed by an estimated 70 million people. Johanna’s qualities and her song selection tie in perfectly with this year’s Red Ribbon Week theme: Respect Yourself. Be Drug Free.™

“When we respect ourselves, we make healthy choices and we protect our bodies and minds,” said Peggy Sapp, president of the National Family Partnership. “Johanna’s contagious energy, enthusiasm, spirit, leadership qualities and self-confidence make her the perfect youth ambassador and representative for this year’s theme.” No stranger to Red Ribbon Week, Johanna celebrates the event every year at her local elementary school in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“Red Ribbon Week is so much fun and I am very excited,” said Johanna. “When you respect yourself, you love yourself, you are healthy and you don’t do drugs. I hope I can help a lot of kids.”

Coincidentally, Johanna’s mom, Elissa Colón, is a former elementary school teacher who organized Red Ribbon Week activities each year for students at her school.

“My first reaction when hearing that Johanna was selected to be a Youth Ambassador for Red Ribbon Week was sheer excitement,” said Elissa Colón. “I think it’s an amazing opportunity for her to learn what a difference she can make in this world. As a parent and former teacher, Red Ribbon Week is important to me because I want my children and other children to succeed in life and be productive, happy adults, which would not be possible if they engage in drug use.”

Elissa Colón sees Red Ribbon Week as a gift to parents and schools – and a wonderful opportunity to introduce a sometimes difficult, but nonetheless important, topic to children. “I would encourage all parents to take advantage of Red Ribbon Week and use it as a fun, non-threatening way to engage their children in conversations about being healthy, respecting themselves and staying drug free.”

As the Youth Ambassador, Johanna will help spread the Red Ribbon Week message in her local schools; at national Red Ribbon events; online through social media; through print, TV and online media interviews and other opportunities as they arise.

Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31) is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation, celebrated by an estimated 80 million people each year. Learn more about ways to celebrate Red Ribbon Week here.

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