Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) members held a variety of activities for Red Ribbon Week this year. They wanted to send a message in both their school and community about the dangers of Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco. They also wanted to reach a younger generation and encourage them to be above the influence and never start using any of these dangerous substances. Both the Van Buren Middle School and High School members participated in the following activities:
High school members placed Red Ribbons around the community to remind residents of the importance of Red Ribbon Week and to hopefully encourage them to speak to their children about the dangers of these substances. Middle School members also placed the ribbons on the school grounds so that students, staff and visitors were reminded of their message.
High school members participated in Peer Teaching with 6th grade students. This year the YLC members wanted to include an essay contest as a part of their teaching so they provided an essay template a few weeks before they came to the classroom. 6th graders were asked to write an essay on why they were above the influence of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The essays were read and judged by the high school YLC members. The winners of the contest were: 1st Place- Hannah Charbonneau, 2nd place- Isabel Manning, 3rd Place- Summer Brown and Honorable Mention- Kolbie Bass. These girls won a private lunch with the high school YLC members during Red Ribbon Week. Be watching for the winning essays to be published in upcoming SAFE Coalition publications.
Both middle and high school students participated in dress up days every day during Red Ribbon Week and winners of the dress up days were awarded prizes each day along with the morning announcements that shared a different fact each day related to Red Ribbon Week.
On Wednesday the high school members set up a mystery box during their lunch hour. The box had items inside it that represented things you might experience as a smoker; rotten teeth, diseased lung and a cancerous tongue. Participants were only allowed to feel inside the box to try to guess the items. There were 13 students who guessed the correct items and these students were put into a drawing to win a Red Ribbon Week prize! The mystery box was a big hit and many students wanted to try to figure out what was inside!
Also on Wednesday the middle school YLC members set up a Pledge Wall and Face Painting for their peers. Students were asked to sign the pledge wall to be drug, alcohol and tobacco free. There were a large number of middle school and high school students who signed the pledge.
Both middle and high school students also wrote articles for the newspaper and were a part of KMEM’s Coffee Break. These initiatives were in an effort to get information out into the public about Red Ribbon Week and things community members could do to get involved.