Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention awareness campaign in the US and is celebrated annually from October 23-31. You can learn about the origins of the campaign here.


This week we’re sharing activities families can do to strengthen "protective factors", which help kids avoid the negative impacts of early drug and alcohol exposure. We have listed some ideas for each day, but feel free to use them in any order and adapt them to your needs. Every positive step we take is a “win” for our families and a reason to celebrate!

We collaborated with some of our partners to share positive messages with middle and high school students during their school morning shows for Red Ribbon Week. The primary message in all of them is to care for their health and to talk to a trusted adult when they need help. Here is an example from Mr. Gumina.

SATURDAY 10/24 - Drug Drop Off
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Drop off unused prescription medication from 10am-2pm in Webster. Bring along the kids and use the short drive to discuss the danger of drug misuse, and how proper disposal protects them and the community. Participants simply drive up and drop their bag of medication in the bin. Learn more.

Protective factors:

healthy, positive norms | clear expectations for behavior | family provides structure, limits, rules, monitoring, and predictability | physical and psychological safety

SUNDAY 10/25 - Cultivate Gratitude

Research suggests that people who practice gratitude are happier and healthier. Try one of these activities to cultivate gratitude: create a gratitude jar, start a gratitude journal, share something you’re thankful for before dinner, or write thank you notes as a family activity to those you appreciate.

Protective factors:

positive self-esteem | community engagement | recognition for positive behavior | empathy

MONDAY 10/26 - Color Me Relaxed

Many people (even adults!) find coloring a relaxing and satisfying creative outlet. Encourage family members to try coloring one of the pages below (click to print out), filling in the speech bubble with your favorite, healthy way to de-stress. See ideas here. Talk about the causes of stress in your kids’ lives and healthy ways to manage stress. We encourage you to share your creations by snapping a picture of each (with or without the artist in the photo!) and post it to social media with #RedRibbonWeek and tag @whendfcc so we can create a gallery of submissions. Color as many as you like, and share them all throughout the week!


BONUS: Everyone who posts a photo of their coloring page to Facebook or Twitter and tags @WHENdfcc and #RedRibbonWeek will be included in a drawing for a gift card and free WHEN T-shirt!

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Protective factors:

supportive family relationships | positive coping skills/resiliency | self regulation

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TUESDAY 10/27 - Find Your "Natural High"

Watch one or more of Natural High’s 3-5 minute Red Ribbon Week videos featuring social influencers sharing their “natural high” and discuss with your family what activities make them feel their best, or what activities they would like to try. Consider how you can support pursuing healthy activities. 

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Protective factors:

positive self-esteem | positive coping skills/resiliency | identity and opportunity exploration | future orientation | self-efficacy

WEDNESDAY 10/28 - Family Dinner

Busy schedules can make it difficult to eat dinner together as a family on a regular basis, so make it a point to schedule it as often as possible. Ask your kids about their friends, and how the new school schedule is impacting their relationships. Show neutral curiosity, and allow them to share as much information as they are comfortable with, without judgement.

Protective factors:

supportive family relationships | social engagement | positive peer group | parental supervision | secure attachment/bonding | resiliency

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THURSDAY 10/29 - Conversation Starters

Tired of single-syllable responses? Try these conversation starters with your teen (some are adaptable for younger children too). Nurturing a relationship with your adolescent helps you to know what is happening in their life and helps them to know you care. 

Protective factors:

supportive relationships with family members | secure attachment/bonding | social, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and moral competence

FRIDAY 10/30 - Operation Parent

Parenting is not always easy, so it’s important that we take care of ourselves. Embrace these Red Ribbon Week activities to improve your own wellbeing, too! If you have some quiet time, check out Operation Parent’s Key Issues and extensive video resources on all kinds of topics you may find helpful. You’ll feel better prepared to manage any issues that may come your way. Please don’t hesitate to seek help when you need it. Stigma is largely self-imposed, and never a good enough reason to deprive yourself or a loved one of needed care. Find some local resources here or ask your pediatrician to recommend a reliable provider.

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Protective factors:

positive self-esteem | problem-solving skills | good parenting skills | physical and psychological safety

For more ideas and tips to help Webster kids grow up strong and substance free, subscribe to WHEN:DFCC’s monthly newsletter and follow WHEN:DFCC on Facebook and Twitter.