Red Ribbon Week was officially launched in 1985 as a means to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs and to encourage children and teens to make a pledge to remain drug-free. In many schools, Red Ribbon Week is a popular time of year that includes tons of exciting activities and events. However, some schools struggle to find enthusiasm about the program or to encourage widespread participation. If your school falls into the latter group, you understandably want to do your best to revamp Red Ribbon Week and to maximize the incredible benefits that this program provides. By incorporating these ideas into your planning efforts for the next Red Ribbon Week, you may enjoy considerable success from the program in your school.
1- Invest in Fun Signs
One reason why participation in and excitement about Red Ribbon Week maybe low at your school is because of a general lack of awareness. Depending on the events that you have planned for the week, you may place fun, eye-catching signs for Red Ribbon Week strategically around the school in places where they will definitely get noticed. Signs placed a week before the event may be ideal for special activities that do not require ample planning on the part of students and teachers. However, if you plan to hold group contests or initiate other activities that require more effort, placing the signs in the school up to two weeks beforehand is a great idea. Keep in mind that placing signs up too soon may have diminished results because the signs’ impact may be reduced over time.
2- Create Interactive Events and Activities
The national organization hosts contests with financial awards that students may get excited about. For example, students can submit theme ideas for next year’s Red Ribbon Week, and they may wind a cash prize. There are also fun videos available through the Red Ribbon Week’s website that teachers can show their students. Many schools also draw attention to the event by hosting daily themes during Red Ribbon Week, such as a day when the whole school wears read, when the students are allowed to wear hats or crazy socks to school and more.
3- Hold Contests
You may also host a contest that individuals or classes may participate in. For example, you may have a penny fundraiser where classes compete to raise the most pennies, and these pennies can be donated to the Red Ribbon Week foundation. Another idea is to host a fun run where parents and other adults pledge a financial donation based on how many laps a student runs or walks around a track. This money may also be donated to a relevant organization.
4- Invite Speakers to the School
While these ideas may be effective methods to generate more excitement from your students and staff as well as to increase participation, education about the dangers of drug use is also important. Playing educational videos are one approach to take, but some students may take messages to heart when they learn how drug use has impacted actual individuals. Many professional speakers can be hired to speak to your student body, and some will do so at no cost to the school as part of their required community service hours or for other reasons. When selecting speakers, ensure that their message is appropriate for the age of the students in your school.
Red Ribbon Week is an effective program that has been encouraging children to adopt a drug-free lifestyle for several decades. As effective as it is in some schools, interest in the program may be minimal in your school. By incorporating some or all of these ideas into your efforts this year, you can make Red Ribbon Week a success. Keep in mind that your enthusiasm about the program as well as the enthusiasm of administrators and teachers can also impact how the children feel about the week’s events.