Red Ribbon Week pushes virtual campaign amid pandemic

RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – You may remember Red Ribbon Week events from when you were in school, but this year, the pandemic makes reaching kids a bit difficult.

Despite the pandemic, local organizations are dedicated to make sure kids say no to drugs. Since Red Ribbon Week can’t happen in the form of crowded school events, the Raleigh County Prevention Coalition is going virtual.

“We are encouraging schools to do activities within the schools,” said Dee Dawana Sizemore. “As far as the prevention coalition goes, we are doing a lot virtually. We have a media campaign program that involves digital advertising.”

Over the next week, you may start seeing posts on social media or hearing ads on your local radio station. The awareness campaign is meant to target kids of all ages because it’s better to be early than late.

“A lot of these kids have been around drugs since they were born and they probably know a lot more than you and I do about drugs and alcoholism,” said Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley. “I’d never say it’s too early for first, second and third grades. I think that’s fine.”

Parents and teachers alike can get involved, making sure kids understand the effect drugs can have on their life. Sizemore encourages anyone with a child in their life to start a conversation.

“You want them to get their education the right way and know that they’re supported,” said Sizemore. “[You want them to know] what those destructive decisions are and the possible outcomes and consequences of those decisions.”

You can download resources to help you through that conversation on RedRibbon.org. The coalition’s Facebook group also offers support.

“We share daily activities that RedRibbon.org shares,” said Sizemore. “We share the pledges and we have Red Ribbon Week ribbons that we can send out to families and organizations.”

Resources on RedRibbon.org include drug free pledges, coloring pages and even fact sheets.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.