Each year, during the last week in October, communities across the nation celebrate Red Ribbon Week in support of youth drug and alcohol prevention. In Battle Ground, these efforts have been led by the volunteer-based Prevent Together: Battle Ground Prevention Alliance. For the past several years, Prevent Together has gathered a small group of youth to “plant the promise” during Red Ribbon Week. This tradition involves planting red tulip bulbs which bloom in the Spring and serve as a physical reminder of the importance and beauty of a drug-free life.
Like the tulips, these efforts are growing in Battle Ground. Last year, Prevent Together’s youth group, the DREAM Team, partnered with Lewis River Rotary to plant tulips in Battle Ground’s Central Park as part of Rotary’s park improvements through the City’s Adopt-a-Park program. To step up efforts this year, Lewis River Rotary, with help from the City of Battle Ground’s Public Works department, expanded the park’s tulip bed along Main Street allowing the DREAM Team to plant an additional 200 red tulip bulbs to double the flower bed’s size.
“These tulips will bloom in the Spring with a burst of color and will be a reminder that we have amazing people in this community that really care about our youth and care about preventing youth substance use,” said Jennifer Kirby, Prevent Together program coordinator. “Through programs like this, we’re creating great partnerships but we’re also getting youth involved in working with local businesses and other civic groups who are committed to keeping our city parks clean, safe and beautiful.”
The DREAM Team was not the only youth group or park adopter to participate in planting tulips for Red Ribbon Week this year. Youth from Rocksolid Community Teen Center planted 175 red tulip bulbs at Kiwanis Park with help from Prevent Together and iQ Credit Union, who has formally adopted the park. Kirby said iQ Credit Union has been a longtime supporter of Rocksolid Community Teen Center and other youth programming in our community so the partnership was a natural fit.
“Rocksolid Community Teen Center is proud to work alongside Prevent Together and other amazing community partners like iQ Credit Union,” said Rocksolid Teen Center Executive Director Marcy Sprecher, “This makes a great community!"
Cub Scout Pack #443 was also involved with Red Ribbon Week activities. The scouts, who range in age from 6-11 years old, learned about prescription medication safety to earn a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s Red Ribbon Week Patch. The scout pack, who have adopted Fairgrounds Park next to the Battle Ground Community Center, included tulip planting at the Center as part of their regular community service to care for the park and to help earn them the Red Ribbon Week patch. Twenty-eight scouts in all participated planting 225 red tulips along Main Street at the Community Center.
Anyone interested in being involved with future Red Ribbon Week activities or learning more about Prevent Together: Battle Ground Prevention Alliance is encouraged to contact Program Coordinator Jennifer Kirby at 360-342-5315 or Jennifer.Kirby@cityofbg.org. Information about the coalition is also available on their website at www.preventtogetherbg.org.