#ReachHigher for Red Ribbon Week

Part of our Counselor’s Corner series. Click to read other posts in the Counselor’s Corner.

Every October, the National Family Partnership—a parent advocacy group that works to prevent drug abuse in kids—names a Red Ribbon Week as a way to raise drug awareness. This year, Red Ribbon Week is October 23–31.

Red ribbon LogoIn my experience, I had the most buy-in from students and staff when we made Red Ribbon Week focus on the importance of students being drug free for the sake of their futures, with a career awareness component. With the advent of First Lady Michelle Obama’s #ReachHigher initiative, charging every student to pursue education past high school, there is no better time than the present to use Red Ribbon Week as an opportunity to stress the importance of being drug free, better enabling students to reach their future goals.

Below are some activities you can use for the theme #ReachHigher: Be Drug Free! as your Red Ribbon Week Theme.

Highlight Colleges, Universities, Trade Schools, and Military Programs
Expose students to the variety of post-secondary options available to them. Request information from local colleges, universities, trade schools, and military programs. Many schools will send you free apparel, accessories, and promotional items if you request them and explain how you will use them in your school.

#ReachHigher Trivia
Use the college information to ask a different trivia question each day of Red Ribbon Week. Announce the trivia question on your school’s news program or over the PA system. Begin and end each trivia question message with “[Your school] encourages all students to be drug free for their future! That’s why our Red Ribbon Week Theme is: #ReachHigher: Be Drug Free!” Students can also share statistics about the dangers of drug use along with the message.

Red Ribbon Drug Free_Poster_12x18Teacher Doors and Student Locker Decorating Contest
You can also showcase colleges, universities, and trade school programs by hosting a teacher door or student locker decorating contest. Have each homeroom vote on a post-secondary program and decorate their door as a group. Allow student council or another prominent school group to judge and select the winning door.

Prizes for the trivia contest and door/locker decorating contests can be promotional items requested from post-secondary programs.

Bring in the Mascots!
Contact local colleges and universities to have mascots visit your lunchroom. Invite a student group, such as photography or yearbook, to take pictures and make them available to students after the event. If your school allows it, encourage students to use their cell phones to take pictures with the mascots and “tag” the #ReachHigher hashtag and your school’s hashtag on various social media sites.

If you plan to have a Drug Free Pledge, you can also ask the mascots to lead by example and sign your Drug Free Pledge.

For more ideas of how to celebrate Red Ribbon Week at your school, visit the Red Ribbon Campaign.

How do you celebrate Red Ribbon Week at Your School?


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About Danielle R. Schultz

School Counselor blogger for Free Spirit Publishing Blog
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