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School Kids

Middle School

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

Red Ribbon Week is October 23-31

Our list of suggested activities for middle 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' opportunity to impact their children's choice to use or avoid drugs and alcohol is greatest BEFORE their child has been exposed. Red Ribbon Week is the perfect opportunity to share information with parents and families about how and when to have these conversations.

2. Choose Activities

Below we have listed 38 activities in seven different categories. Choose any five activities to build your own custom Red Ribbon Week program highlighting 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:

  • Play this trivia game as a group or introduce one trivia question per day (use your morning show, announcements, lunch, free time, or even email or social media) to post a trivia question and start discussions. 

  • Offer our Drug and Alcohol Facts crossword puzzle during lunches or free time and discuss which facts were most surprising. Crossword Puzzle | Answer Key


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: 

  • Encourage students to have the strength and courage to look out for their friends should they ever need support. Have students identify a friend they care enough about to help them stay healthy, make sound decisions, and remain drug-free.

  • Friends help friends make good choices: dress like your friends.

  • Specifically name trusted adults that kids can go to when they are not sure where else to turn. 

  • Share the Relationship Spectrum to overtly specify what a healthy relationship looks like.

  • 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 your 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, encourage parents to discuss options with kids.)

  • Discuss discovering your anti-drug… are you an athlete, in the band or choir, an artist, or a dancer? Any of these can be an anti-drug. 

  • Discuss 3 areas of life that can be negatively impacted by abuse 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.

  • Have kids write what motivates them to stay healthy and drug free on this page that can then be displayed.

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


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

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

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

  • 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 students can participate in strengthening their community.

  • Create a display of Gratitude Ribbons: Small Ribbons  | Large Ribbons.

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

Healthy Habits

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

Develop tools that increase resilience:

Red Ribbon Reading

Reinforce RRW concepts like resilience, pursuing your passion, and building healthy relationships with these titles recommended for middle-schoolers by Willink MS Librarian, Ms. Lucas.

Share a book or have kids choose one to read independently. Suggestions:

  • Pass It On by Henn - Here's a fun idea: When you laugh or smile--pass it on! A story about giving, sharing, and joy. 

  • Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor by Valdez - A picture book biography of Joan Procter, an English woman who loved reptiles and, while a curator of reptiles at the London Zoo in the 1920s, worked with Komodo dragons.

  • Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Yeboah by Thompson - In 2001, with one strong leg, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah bicycled 400 miles around Ghana to spread the message that "being disabled does not mean being unable".

  • Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music by Engle - Follows a girl in the 1920s as she strives to become a drummer, despite being continually reminded that only boys play the drums. 

  • The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus by Bryant - If only all the ideas in the world could be found in one place."With this in mind, chronic list-maker Peter Mark Roget wrote his Thesaurus, published in 1852.

  • Trombone Shorty by Andrews - A picture book autobiography by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, who hails from the Treme neighborhood in New Orleans' 6th Ward. By the time he reached six, this prodigy was playing trumpet and trombone in a jazz band led by his older brother.

  • Rescue and Jessica: A Life Changing Friendship by Kensky - When he is paired with a girl who has lost her legs, Rescue worries that he isn't up to the task of being her service dog.

  • Nya's Long Walk: A Step at a Time by Park - When her little sister, Akeer, becomes sick as they are returning home from the water hole, Nya must carry her and the water back to their village, one step at a time.

  • It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Maclear - Presents an illustrated biography of American illustrator and children's book author, Gyo Fujikawa.

  • Wilma Unlimited by Krull - A biography of the African-American woman who overcame crippling polio as a child to become the first woman to win three gold medals in track in a single Olympics.

  • Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Sanders - Traces the [history] of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today's world.

  • Malala's Magic Pencil by Yousafzai - As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true.

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.

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.

School Kids Meditating

Share your success!

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

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