WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic (NCTAMS LANT) Drug Education for Youth (DEFY) outreach program received their second award for drug and alcohol awareness Oct. 20.
NCTAMS LANT was named best in the Navy DEFY program at a Pentagon ceremony by the Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs during the 21st Red Ribbon Week, repeating their success from 2008.
The annual Red Ribbon Week awards highlight local community programs focusing on children and families. It originated as a tribute to Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" S. Camarena, a narcotics agent who was murdered by drug traffickers in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1985.
NCTAMS LANT Commander, Capt. Danelle Barrett and DEFY program coordinator, Sharon Shaw attached to Navy Cyber Forces, accepted the accolade.
"It is a great privilege for the NCTAMS LANT team to have been recognized for this award," said Barrett. "Our volunteers are committed to continuing to honor the memory of a DEA agent and Marine, Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, by providing mentors and positive role models to the children we work with. We are excited to be kicking off our FY12 program on Monday under the leadership of Ms. Shaw again and look forward to a great year with the kids and volunteers at NCTAMS LANT."
The DEFY program, which partnered with the Department of Defense in 1993, focuses on giving kids ages 9 to 12 the tools they need to resist drugs, alcohol and gang influences. Its multi-phased activities include goal setting, team building, conflict resolution and decision-making to build confidence and positively shape their future.
According to Shaw, the key to the success of their ongoing DEFY program has been the combination of the classroom curriculum, community involvement and mentoring.
"This award would not be possible without the dedicated NCTAMS LANT military and civilian volunteers who take two weeks off from work each summer and one Saturday a month for 10 months to mentor nine through 12-year-old boys and girls," said Shaw. "The best reward, is the positive feedback we receive annually from parents about their children's participation in DEFY."
The NCTAMS LANT program is staffed by nearly 60 volunteer mentors and guest speakers both military and civilian, and services more than 60 youth members.
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