Red Ribbon Week

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Red Ribbon Week, October 24-29, 2011.

Red Ribbon Week - 2011 Update
Red Ribbon Coalition

Red Ribbon Coalition

The Red Ribbon Coalition Website was created by ICDP in 1999 to assist school site prevention coordinators (parent, teacher and student volunteers) who are responsible for developing and hosting Red Ribbon Celebration activities at their school or in their community.

No use of illegal drugs, no illegal use of legal drugs.

What is Red Ribbon Week?

The answer to this question is a little more complicated than one might think. To understand what Red Ribbon Week is, it is important to know that it is NOT a prevention program.

Red Ribbon is an Awareness Campaign

Red Ribbon Week is an awareness campaign observed annually the last full week in October. We regard Red Ribbon Week as the "kick off to a year of prevention in our schools and in our communities."

The best Red Ribbon Celebration efforts highlight and support the continuing prevention efforts occurring, on and off campus, throughout the year.

Throughout the week students, parents and teachers are engaged in a variety of activities designed to demonstrate a commitment to youth and prevention.

The focus is on developing and supporting ways to prevent youth from using illegal drugs or legal drugs illegally.

We Know That:

Early and continued prevention efforts are crucial if we are to prevent youth from using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.

Affordable, effective treatment programs are absolutely necessary if we are to help those who need to overcome their substance abuse related problems.

It is important to include youth in the development and implementation of school and community based prevention programs, activities and events.

In order to understand the value of Red Ribbon Week in your school or community based prevention efforts, you must first recognize what Red Ribbon won’t do.

The Red Ribbon Celebration will not (nor is it intended to) single-handedly fix the drug problem. There is not a single approach to prevention that can eliminate a problem so complex.

The Red Ribbon Celebration is Not:

Your district's health and prevention curricula.

Your Red Ribbon Campaign Should Raise Awareness About:

Developing Your Awareness Campaign

When developing your school based prevention awareness campaign, be sure to:

If you discover a need for additional services, meet with your district Title IV Safe & Drug Free Schools Coordinator, principal, school site council and others to develop services that compliment those already in place. An after-school homework club, mentoring program, or parent education series are just some examples of services that you might help develop.

Your Role

As the School Site Prevention Coordinator, your mission should be to create an awareness campaign that supports ongoing alcohol, tobacco, illegal drug and violence prevention efforts. Be sure your campaign:

Red Ribbon Week - 2011 Update
Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country, taking place this year on October 24th-29th. Veteran police officer Tim Shoemaker has some tips for those looking to celebrate Red Ribbon Week in their communities.

Red Ribbon Week (RRW) is an ideal time to collaborate with and get to know various family-oriented organizations in your community. It is an opportunity to join parents, students and officials together and declare collective independence from drug and alcohol abuse.

Over the years, my community has celebrated RRW in various ways. I recommend first developing a brief, one-paragraph statement outlining activities for relevant groups in your community. Divide initiatives among community groups and members willing to participate: post red ribbons on lamp posts, display red luminaries on street corners, have a clergy official mention RRW at a mass or have a poignant poem read at a school assembly. All these broad-based displays are very productive. The idea is to raise awareness and have everyone work together toward the common goal of taking a stand against drug abuse in your community.

What has been successful in my own community is recruiting peer leadership groups to distribute red ribbons to schools at the beginning of the awareness week. I’ve had young writers submit articles to the press and we have culminated the week with a brief candlelight vigil. Social media campaigns are also a useful venue to explore. If you don’t have a dedicated social media page, find out if anyone in your community has active social media pages with large followings and recruit their support.

Text messages, picture messages and short videos may spread virally and can be harnessed to promote your RRW activities. Find out if any officials in your area have large-scale email distribution lists and see if they’d be willing to share the RRW message and activities. In all cases, try to provide your audience with a short and direct call to action. Where can they go for more information? What can they do to help?

One important caveat is that you must prepare your efforts early. Parent-teacher organizations, school boards, student governments and other groups typically host monthly meetings. Your initiatives should be addressed at the September meetings if you hope to achieve a successful event in October. You’ll also want to submit your events or accompanying articles to the local newspaper with some lead time. When it comes to social media, however, the opposite rules typically apply. Through Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, saturating audiences closer to the event will work better.

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