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R.A.P Week

The Northport/East Northport Community Drug & Alcohol Task Force hosts its 6th annual Color Run on Saturday, Nov. 4. Photo courtesy NENDATF

Hundreds gathered at Northport Middle School on Saturday, Nov. 4, in support of the 6th annual Color Run hosted by the Northport/East Northport Community Drug & Alcohol Task Force.

The Color Run is a unique and vibrant event that combines the elements of a fun run with an explosion of color, fun and community spirit. Participants donned white t-shirts, symbolic of a blank canvas, and raced through the course, where they were showered by volunteers with nontoxic, biodegradable colored powder at various “color stations” along the route.

The run culminates in a “finish festival” featuring music, dancing, games and a photo booth. Several organizations operated information booths as well, including the Family & Children’s Association, Hands Across Long Island, Gabriel’s Giving Tree, Families in Support of Treatment, CN Guidance Counseling Services, Seafield, and more.

The event was made possible due to generous sponsorships by Geico and National Event Connection, as well as hard work by community volunteers and students from 1Life Youth Coalition and the Northport High School Wilderness Club.

The annual Color Run coincides with R.A.P. — Recovery, Awareness, Prevention — Week in the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District, during which students participate in age-appropriate group programming and activities that provide valuable education on the dangers of substance use.

“R.A.P. Week is a great way to impart valuable lessons about making smart choices when it comes to drugs, but we also have to show people how much joy and color can be found in everyday life,” said Linda Oristano, project coordinator for the NENDATF. “I’m incredibly grateful to our volunteers for their hard work and generosity, and to everyone in the community who showed up to support this beautiful cause.”

The NENDATF is a community organization founded in 2006 to address the devastation and loss of life caused by the drug epidemic and highlight support structures for those in recovery.

For more information about how to get involved, visit www.ndatf.org.

Photo courtesy of Northport-East Northport Union Free School District

Each year, the Northport-East Northport School District hosts Recovery, Awareness, Prevention (R.A.P) week to spread the word about substance abuse and important preventative measures. The weeklong event kicked off this year on Oct. 19 with all grade levels finding ways to acknowledge the topic and learn more about how to prevent and address substance abuse.

R.A.P Week began in April of 2012 when a district teacher suggested a substance use prevention day at Northport High School. Since then, the passion and dedication of students, staff and community has expanded the idea, leading to a full week of guest speakers and activities that focus on drug and alcohol prevention.

The district’s substance abuse counselor Anthony Ferrendino shared that R.A.P week is important because the issue affects many families. Whether it’s a loved one who is struggling or a student who is experimenting, substance abuse is widespread and addressing it is crucial to reducing the stigma.

R.A.P week is executed differently at the elementary, middle and high school levels. For telementary schools, the message is heavy on prevention, and discussion topics include positive goal setting and ways to lead a healthy lifestyle. At the middle school and high school levels, there’s more explicit discussion about substances and how to combat substance abuse.

Recognizing that this issue is especially pertinent for high school students, the district typically brings in a variety of guest speakers, from professional athletes to former students who are in recovery, to address the larger group.

This year, the district had guest speakers provide a recording and shared them to a dedicated R.A.P Week site, along with past speaker recordings, and has asked teachers to make the videos a class assignment. This ensures students still have access to the critical information and can either discuss or write down their thoughts about the topic.

“I am beyond thrilled that despite COVID-19, the teams that we have in the buildings were able to figure it out and offer the students what they absolutely need,” said Mr. Ferrendino.