Educate yourselves, educate your kids. That was the message behind “A Day in the Life of Your Teen,” an event focused on educating parents and teenagers about drug and alcohol use. That was the message… plain and simple. But Ginger Mumpower’s story is far from plain and simple. Hers is a story filled with a wide range of emotions. Sadness, hopelessness, courage, and even happiness were among the emotions that filled Cave Spring High School’s auditorium on Wednesday, October 24.
Ginger’s son was an addict. The story of what happened is well known in the Roanoke Valley, you can read it here, but what is not so well known is the story behind the story. Ginger Mumpower bravely spoke of her naivety towards her son’s drug use. “My son would never do that,” she thought…. until he did and it was too late. Ginger tried everything… she tried taking her son to rehab, she tried taking his money away, she even tried getting him arrested. Nothing worked until he hit rock bottom and was incarcerated. He has been clean for two years now, Ginger is so proud, but she wishes it all could have been prevented. And that is what she wants to help with now. She wants to bring her message to others… to help keep other parents and kids from going through the same situation.
Her story and her son’s story were the powerful focus behind “A Day in the Life of Your Teen.” After Ginger finished speaking, Nancy Hans from the Prevention Council of Roanoke County, spoke to the crowd. She discussed the statistical evidence behind the dangers of alcohol and drug use. She also stressed that drugs and alcohol are not just a school problem… they are, in fact a community problem. Her message was clear. The community needs to get behind these kids, to help and support them through some of the most difficult years of their lives.
The evening was filled with emotions, facts, statistics, questions and some answers. But the underlying message throughout was one of education and connection. Educate yourselves, educate your kids… try to connect with them. It’s hard… but it’s a balance that we strike.
“A Day in the Life of Your Teen,” was part of Red Ribbon Week at Cave Spring High School. Red Ribbon Week is sponsored by RAYSAC (Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition). The following information is from their website: “The RED RIBBON CAMPAIGN for Drug-Free Youth was initiated in 1985 following the murder of Federal Agent Enrique Camarena by drug traffickers. The red ribbon was designated as the symbol of intolerance of illegal drug use and a commitment to a drug-free life style. It is now an ongoing national campaign with the last week in October being designated as Red Ribbon Week.
The Red Ribbon Week Program provides an opportunity for communities to unite and raise awareness of alcohol and other drug abuse. RAYSAC is excited about promoting Red Ribbon Week in the Roanoke Valley as an excellent way to demonstrate our commitment to a drug free community.”
Red Ribbon Week has been going on all week long in schools across the Roanoke Valley. You can see pictures here of some of Hidden Valley High School’s participation. Cave Spring High School also participated in Red Ribbon Week and you can see some of their pictures here.
The official dates for Red Ribbon Week are October 21 – 27 and will end with a candlelight ceremony at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center on Sunday, October 28 at 3:30pm in the Shenandoah Room.
This is RAYSAC’s 17th Annual Candlelight Ceremony. From their website, the ceremony is held to: “Remember those whose lives have been affected by alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and recognition of this year’s Red Ribbon Week Celebration Winners.”