National Red Ribbon Week theme winner comes courtesy of RCMS YSC Director Danielle Helm

Russell County Middle School Youth Services Center Director Danielle Helm recently submitted a theme for Red Ribbon Week that was chosen as the national Red Ribbon Week theme for 2023, a tremendous honor for both Helm and the local school system.

“Be Kind to Your Mind. Live Drug Free” was Helm’s theme submission.

The National Family Partnership said this year’s theme is a reminder that everyday Americans across the country make significant daily contributions to their communities by being the best they can be because they live Drug-Free.

Each year, the National Family Partnership sponsors the Red Ribbon Week Theme Contest. The theme contest invites millions of Americans across the country to submit a unique slogan that captures the essence and mission of the campaign. Helm’s theme was chosen because it encourages us to do our individual parts to keep our communities safe, healthy and drug free.

“I chose this theme because drugs alter our current brain development and hinders further growth. Drugs decrease levels of neurotransmitters in the reward system of our brain, such as Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins. This can block our brain from naturally experiencing happiness,” Helm said. “”Be Kind to Your Mind. Live Drug Free” is about making positive choices to be happy and healthy-that is being kind to our mind.”

NFP organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign in response to the murder of Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena who was tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985. After his murder, parents, and youth in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the destruction caused by drugs in America.

“The theme contest is just one-way NFP brings awareness to the community,” said Peggy B. Sapp, NFP President. “Each year we strive to engage the public by inviting them to share what living Drug-Free means to them. This year we are inviting them to show us what Drug-Free looks like by sharing different photos of themselves as representatives of the community.”

Theme submissions are accepted each year from January 1st through December 4th and winners of the contest receive $500 in Ribbon Week themed merchandise courtesy of Nimco, Inc. NIMCO is the only place families, children, and schools can purchase Red Ribbon Merchandise Theme material to support ongoing drug education in the schools.

Red Ribbon Week takes place each year from October 23rd through 31st. Learn more about the contest and the campaign by visiting