After spending their lunch time on Friday creating 50 red ribbons, students of the Pittsford Interact Club hung the ribbons on Sunday to encourage the community to take a stand against substance abuse.

The ribbons can be found tied around the lampposts near the intersection of State Street and Main Street in Pittsford.

Members of the community service club were the only students allowed to partake in the ribbon-tying event, which was the official kick-off to Pittsford’s Red Ribbon Week. During the week, all Pittsford students participate in various activities and community service designed to prevent substance abuse and raise awareness.

“We have age-appropriate activities for all of our students,” said Nancy Wayman, communications director at Pittsford Central School District. Some activities scheduled for the week include wearing red attire and a hat day to “put a lid on drugs.”

The ultimate goal is a drug free America.

“A lot of people think a drug-free America is out of reach, but that doesn’t mean we should stop taking the necessary steps to raise awareness and live healthier,” said Julie Wittig, internship and community service coordinator at Pittsford Mendon High School. Wittig is also a board member of the Pittsford-Alliance for Substance Free Youth, which helped organize most of the activities and events of the week.

The Interact members interviewed said they didn’t know anyone who abused drugs, and they want it to stay that way.

“We don’t really have a drug problem here and we want the lack of drug use to continue. For those who do drugs, hopefully they’ll stop,” said Casey Mulroy, co-president of Interact at Sutherland.

“It helps other communities too,” said Joyce Bi, 14, who attends Mendon High School. “When they drive through, maybe they’ll be motivated to help in their own communities.”

According to the April 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 8 percent of Pittsford high school students attended school under the influence of marijuana.

Statistics for this year aren’t available.

Pittsford community members are encouraged to demonstrate their support all week by wearing or displaying red ribbons or posting messages on their social media accounts saying, “Today, I’m joining teens, parents, teachers, and other citizens in celebrating Red Ribbon Week, the largest drug prevention program in the nation.”

Although, the ribbon-tying event was only open to Interact members this year, organizers and students are hoping to incorporate the entire community in following years for both this activity and the entire week.

Written by Tianna Manon; Staff writer D&C