JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Joint Base Charleston’s efforts toward drug and alcohol prevention went up a notch in support of Red Ribbon Week, which takes place annually from Oct. 22-30.
Red Ribbon Week is an annual event to help bring awareness and education to not only military members and their families, but communities nationwide. JB Charleston’s drug demand reduction program held events in conjunction with the annual weekly event by going to schools and youth centers on the Air Base and Naval Weapons Station. Teaching the youth of the military community about these issues contributes to the base's priority to help develop and care for Airmen and their families.
“Nationwide it’s a time when schools, the Air Force and communities take time to recognize drug awareness and prevention,” said Carol Lampkin-Harris, 628th Air Base Wing drug testing program administrator. “For Red Ribbon Week, we get together with the youth center and base schools and talk to the kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. We partnered with security forces to put on a K9 demonstration for the kids as well.”
During one of the events at the Air Base’s Youth Center, the 628th ABW partnered with the 315th Airlift Wing to get their message across. Master Sgt. Maurice Ferguson, 315th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, spoke with children about ways to identify and avoid illegal drugs while also joining them in a pledge to be drug-free.
“I believe in the old saying, ‘each one teach one.’ If you teach a child while they’re young, they won’t grow up getting exposed to the dangers of drugs and alcohol,” said Ferguson. “Sometimes parents don’t have the time or opportunities to teach their kids, so I look at it as helping the kids and the parents.
“I just like helping people. I look at it as being part of the village that it takes to raise a child,” he continued. “It makes me feel good to know that I’ve helped someone.”
While Lampkin-Harris acknowledges the importance of teaching youth about drug and alcohol prevention, she also knows the value in educating parents on the issues as designer drugs evolve and change seemingly every day.
“Education is the key,” said Lampkin-Harris. “Being able to reach the base populous and the local community is what makes this a success in my eyes.”
The youth center’s involvement is very important to the staff there as they work with the kids every day and want to make sure they grow up drug-free.
“It’s very important for the children,” said Jennifer Major, Joint Base Charleston youth center program specialist. “Seeing their reactions to these demonstrations shows me that they’ll say no to drugs and live a better and healthier life.”
While the goal of the program is to deter all members of Joint Base Charleston from drug use, Ferguson said it can start with affecting a single person, which can create a domino effect.
“If I can help to just deter one life from trying drugs, then it’s a success to me. Sometimes that’s all it takes,” said Ferguson. “Every rose that’s planted has to push through some dirt to blossom. We just want to plant those seeds.”