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School Kids

Red Ribbon Week is October 23-31

Our list of suggested activities for high school students and families focuses on building protective factors, habits that protect against substance use and other negative outcomes, while including facts about substance use, alternative choices, and how to get help.

Tip: Parents have more influence on their kids than they think, and their attitudes do affect the likelihood of their underage child using drugs and alcohol. Encourage parents to have open conversations regularly and make clear both expectations and consequences.

High School

Choose any five activities below to create a custom week-long Red Ribbon Week program that works for your organization!

2. Choose Activities

Below we have listed dozens of activities in six different categories. Choose any five activities to build your own custom Red Ribbon Week program featuring one activity each day. Try to pick from a few different categories to keep it fresh. Work with officials at your venue to plan activities that are both appropriate and feasible.

Drug Facts

Share facts about the negative impact of substance use, but don't embellish. "Scaring kids straight" just doesn't work. 

Share facts about substance use and it's effects:


Positive relationships help to protect kids from negative outcomes. Help kids recognize healthy relationships and strengthen them.

Strengthen and identify positive relationships to support healthy choices and seeking help when needed: 

  • Specifically name trusted adults in your organization that kids can go to when they are not sure where else to turn, and communicate them on the morning show/announcements, posters around school, and social media.

  • Share the Relationship Spectrum to overtly identify what a healthy relationship is and is not, how to get help if you are in an unhealthy relationship, and how to build healthier relationships. 

  • Grow student connections to the anti-drug movement: encourage kids to enter the 2024 Red Ribbon Week theme contest to win national recognition and $500 of Red Ribbon theme merchandise for their school.

  • Explain how peer pressure actually works

Future Focus

Help students make connections between being drug-free and having a bright future. Encourage them to find and pursue their passion.

Plan activities to get kids thinking about and pursuing their healthy future:

  • Promote after-school clubs and activities kids can get involved with (i.e. host an open house, link to an online listing, or encourage parents to discuss options with kids.)

  • Promote discovering their anti-drug… are they an athlete, in the band or choir, an artist, or a dancer? Any of these can be an anti-drug. Encourage kids to post their anti-drug on social media with #RedRibbonWeek.

  • Show a Natural High video and discuss what activities kids find naturally exhilarating.

  • Discuss three areas of life that can be negatively impacted by misuse of drugs and alcohol: health, professional opportunities, and relationships.

  • Celebrate the many wonderful things that are better to do than drugs with a talent show: Youth can perform skills related to a hobby (music, karate, etc.). Virtual option:  have parents share videos of their kids' home performances to your social media channel with #RedRibbonWeek.


Help students appreciate what they have and focus on the power of positivity.

Help kids recognize all they have going for them and appreciate positive influences in their lives.

  • Have kids write a thank you note to someone who has supported them.

  • Encourage kids to consider who inspires them and to post a thank you message on social media with #RedRibbonWeek.

  • Prompt students to identify a group or organization that they have benefited from and discuss how they might give back.

  • Collect red canned food for a local food pantry, with a prize for the group that collects the most.

  • Collect "Change for Change" - coins to be donated to a local organization such as ROCovery Fitness, a Rochester-based organization supporting people in recovery.

  • Discuss the importance of community and how kids can participate in strengthening their community.

Healthy Habits

Help students identify and practice healthy coping strategies, skills, and habits.

Develop tools that increase resilience:

Family Engagement

Inform parents of the critical influence their attitudes play, how to start conversations with kids, and where to seek help.

Share information with parents and families in the principal's newsletter, in person, or on zoom presentations:

3. Publicize Your Program



Use all methods available to tell families about your program:

  • Customize, print and send home/email a Red Ribbon Week flyer.

  • Attach a PDF of the flyer to emails, newsletters, your website and social media.

  •  Share additional resources with families so they can reinforce lessons at home.

  • Share these graphics on social media to get attention.

  • Use hashtag #RedRibbonWeek on your social posts to increase exposure, and @WHENdfcc so we can share your posts.

High School Basketball Game

Share your success!

We can't wait to see the program you design and the positive impact you have! Post photos and video on social media with #RedRibbonWeek so we can find & amplify your successes!

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