Local Students Showcase Designs Promoting Healthy Behaviors
BIDDEFORD, SACO, OLD ORCHARD BEACH — In 2016, Biddeford Saco Rotary Club’s Red Ribbon Committee was formed to focus efforts on preventing young people from slipping into the devastating grip of substance misuse and addiction.
Beginning in March of this year, Rotary’s Red Ribbon Committee in collaboration with school educators in Biddeford, Dayton, Old Orchard Beach, and Saco, held a T-shirt Design Contest promoting healthy behaviors in which the first-place winners in each division, grades K-5 and grades 6-12, would have their design printed on shirts to be given to every K-12 student in the three communities. The T-shirt distribution occurs the week of April 25-29 along with school-based, age-appropriate education surrounding substance misuse and the importance of healthy habits.
The T-shirt Design Contest yielded over 100 designs submitted in both divisions combined. In the 6-12 grade division, the volume of submissions required Rotarians to vote to reduce the entrants to the Top 10 designs and then the students voted for the top three winners. In addition to the first-place winner being on their division t-shirt, the top three winners in each division won a cash prize.
The K-5 grade division winners included: First Place - James Marines of CK Burns School; and Second Place - Kalleigh Jones of Biddeford Intermediate School (no third-place winner in this division). The 6-12 division winners included: First Place - Rylie Prejean of Thornton Academy; Second Place - Josephine Gellis of Thornton Academy; and Third Place - Austin Cote of Thornton Academy.
“Our goal is to serve as a catalyst to mobilize communities, educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities as every $1 spent on effective, school-based prevention programs can save $18 in costs related to problems later in life,” said Jim Godbout, Co-Chair of the Biddeford Saco Rotary Club’s Red Ribbon Committee. “We all recognize drug misuse is at epidemic proportions. It costs our country billions of dollars each year through tax dollars, so we are all affected directly or indirectly. Having all the school administrators and educators throughout our communities working together allows us to have a larger impact with substantial results on reaching our youth and changing the culture. I invite everyone to join us in a culture of change from acceptance of substance misuse in its many forms to all community members living lives of health, wellbeing, and joy.”
The T-Shirt Design Contest and school-based educational events would not be possible without the many individuals and local businesses who have contributed to the Biddeford Saco Rotary Club’s Red Ribbon Committee, especially the following major sponsors: Anderson Insulation, Inc., Bangor Savings Bank, Biddeford Savings Bank, BRC Roofing, Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition, Fiber Materials, Inc., Funtown/Splashtown USA, Carl Goodwin, Inc., Gorham Savings Bank, Jim Godbout Plumbing & Heating, KB Building Contractors, PeoplesChoice Credit Union, Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution, Shutterbugs 4 Charity, and Warren Construction Group.
“This contest was a huge success several years ago when we held it among high school students, and it is a great way for the students to focus on healthy alternatives and goals for their future,” said fellow Co-Chair Karen Chasse. “This contest and the distribution of shirts to every student K-12 would not be possible without the generous support of the businesses in our community. Thanks to their generosity, we raised over $50,000 to support prevention programming within our schools.”
About Biddeford Saco Rotary Club and Red Ribbon Committee
Rotary is a global network of 1.4 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves. Rotarians provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our business, professional, and community leaders’ fellowship.
The Red Ribbon Committee of the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club exists to mobilize the community to encourage healthy and thriving behaviors without the influence of illegal drugs and other misused substances. As a result of the efforts of the Red Ribbon Committee, members of the Biddeford, Saco, and Old Orchard Beach communities will lead healthier lives free of the harmful influences of misused substances. To learn more about Rotary, visit www.biddeford-sacorotary.org