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Balloon Launch Symbolizes Living ‘Above the Influence’


The blue sky above Godwin Heights Middle School was dotted with red balloons recently as students launched them up, declaring themselves committed to a drug-free lifestyle.

Students were culminating Red Ribbon Week, which included a slate of events focused on living “above the influence” of drugs and alcohol, said teacher Kim Urbanski.

Eighth grader Tyler Tappin holds lots of balloons before the launch

Other events included an Art Prize-style contest for which students create logos about healthy choices; a school-wide photo shoot with everyone wearing red, and Pledge Day, for which students pledged to steer clear of drugs and alcohol.

The National Family Partnership (NFP) organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign in 1988. In addition to sponsoring the annual Red Ribbon Celebration, the organization takes an active role in advocating for drug prevention at all levels of government and also serves as a national clearinghouse for drug prevention literature.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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