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My name is Lori Rardin. I have been with the school system since 2002. I started at Maury City Elementary, then Friendship Elementary and now I am at the Middle School getting to see some of my former students all grown up! I am an assistant to Valerie Hughes in RTI and I love it! 

I am also one of the coordinators for Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon week started in 1985 after the murder of a DEA agent in Texas. Parents and youth in communities across the country started wearing red ribbons to show their commitment to raise awareness of the destruction caused by drugs in America. In 1988, the National Family Partnership sponsored the first National Red Ribbon Celebration.

I have been coordinating Red Ribbon Week since my first year at Friendship Elementary.  I am extremely grateful to be a part of such an important message to our youth.

A few statistics:

Over 20 million people in America over the age of 12 have an addiction, out of that 4 million are adolescents.

9 out of 10 people with an addiction began drinking, smoking, or using illicit drugs before the age of 18.

More than 4 in 10 teens who begin drinking before age 15 eventually become alcoholics.

Now putting statistics aside, Red Ribbon Week is more personal to me because I am one of the 4 million, the 9 out of 10, the 4 in 10.  I am a recovering addict. It all started in my middle/high school years. I come from a stable family, good home, and every advantage an upper middle class kid would have and yet I still became an addict.  I say that to say that addiction doesn't discriminate. It can happen to anyone. I have been homeless, jobless, and hopeless. Thank God there were people willing to share their hope, strength and experience with me. I have been in recovery now since October of 2000, one day at a time.

So, you see Red Ribbon Week is more than just dressing up. It is sharing the truth, the hope and the solution with our young people because they need to hear it. Trust me! I hope that you will encourage your child to participate in October when the times comes.