A red ribbon pin Mexico is a drug-free Mexico.

Large red ribbons were tied around trees in front of the grade school in Southern California. It was late October, and too soon to celebrate Christmas or Valentine’s Day. And that popular 70s song, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” was about second chances with a yellow ribbon, not a red one.

The red ribbons on the trees signified “Red Ribbon Week,” a drug and violence prevention awareness campaign aimed at school children and observed from October 23-31 each year. It commemorates the death of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in Guadalajara, Mexico, who worked undercover to expose drug cartels.

After his death, those in his hometown of Calexico, wore red ribbons to honor him as a hero. Later, their red ribbon effort targeted drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention awareness, and was picked up by California congressmen and teachers. “Red Ribbon Week” efforts eventually led to a proclamation by former First Lady Nancy Reagan in 1988.

The red ribbons around the school also represent a “drug-free zone,” where children can be safe from drug pushers and predators. The ribbons represent a visible prevention awareness campaign that also featured a “Drugs Aren’t Cool” banner in the schoolyard.

Parents and teachers, you can take your Red Ribbon Week efforts beyond ribbons around trees and banners to lapel pins.

For instance, you could custom make a red ribbon awareness pin and add the name of your school or mascot. That way, your drug-free effort is more personal and close to home. Together, parents, teachers, and students can wear your red ribbon pins to show their solidarity.

Or, you could offer a “Design-the-Pin” Contest at your school, with the winner’s design will be shown on hundreds of lapel pins in your neighborhood. Price breaks for lapel pins at The Monterey Company begin at 100 and go up from there.

“It’s more than just a lapel pin,” added a salesperson. “It shows your commitment to drug-free kids.”