Families gathered at the Boy & Girls Club of the Hi-Line Tuesday night to have a meal, play games and learn how they can enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
And throughout the program, there was a message that organizers of the festivities hope will stay with the students for the rest of their lives: Stay away from drugs.
The evening was a part of Red Ribbon Week, a week set aside to explain to young people why it is a good idea to stay off drugs.
Red Ribbon Week began after the death of Drug Enforcement Agency officer Enrique "Kiki" Camarena in 1986. He was killed by drug dealers in Mexico. Friends and public officials moved to create a week in his honor.
The Boys & Girls Club and the HELP committee are joining with the Havre public school district and other community groups to sponsor the activities, said Priscilla Presnell, a youth development specialist with the Boys & Girls Club.
Schools and community groups will hold special events all week urging kids to avoid drugs, she said.
After being treated to dinner, families went from one station to another, learning valuable lessons on such topics as not smoking and how to buckle up safely when riding in a car.
Kids who attended each of the sessions were eligible for a drawing where a variety of gifts — a McGruff backpack stuffed with goodies, two Red Ribbon T-shirts, and a big stuffed horse — donated by Havre businesses, she said.
The message seems to be getting across to the young people, she said.
“Sometimes after a while, they seem to forget, ” she said. “But then we start in again with another Red Ribbon Week. ”