There were red ribbons everywhere in the Bauer Center on Friday morning. Ribbons on tables, ribbons on the floor and the completed product of ribbons twisted in a bow piled at one end of the room.
M-MAC together with the Friday Friends and the Millburn Middle School REBEL peer leader group were taking the ribbons and folding and twisting them into the bows. The bows will then be hung around town on Oct. 22 in preparations for the annual Red Ribbon Week on Oct. 25-29.
Red Ribbon Week is a week to raise awareness of the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, said Gail Barry, M-MAC coordinator. It's intentions is to remind people of the risks and dangers associated with drugs and alcohol.
"We want to remind people to talk to their teens about risky behavior," she said.
Theresa Cataldo, REBEL peer leadership advisor, said the group focuses on the dangers and lies about tobacco. The group's name stands for Reaching Everyone by Exposing Lies.
"It's a big effort to make everyone aware of the risks," she said. "(Red Ribbon Week) is more than tobacco, but it fits in with the mission of the group."
The groups of middle school students, M-MAC volunteers and senior citizens have been getting together each fall for a number of years to prepare the ribbons. "It's a wonderful opportunity to get the two generations together," Barry said.
Patti Lowery, senior coordinator, said the Friday Friends, a group of seniors that meets on Fridays at the Bauer Center, has done a number of intergenerational activities with Millburn-Short Hills kids.
The teens and seniors were huddled around the room, conversing and helping each other. Nick Zimmermann, an eighth grader, said making the ribbons was harder than he thought and needed help from the seniors in making his first ribbon. Jacob Lipps, also an eighth grader, was deep in conversation with Millie Foti about the Paper Mill Playhouse, where her daughter works.
"It's great to bring the two groups together," Lowery said.