Four Colorado middle schools win $10,000 in youth marijuana prevention challenge

DENVER – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment awarded four Colorado middle schools $10,000 each for their participation in the Protect What’s Next Challenge, a statewide youth empowerment and retail marijuana prevention program. The winning schools are:
  • Options Middle School, Littleton
  • Prairie Heights Middle School, Evans
  • Vikan Middle School, Brighton
  • Vineland Middle School, Pueblo
The challenge, an extension of the state’s youth marijuana prevention campaign, was built on youth’s belief that using marijuana before age 21 could get in the way of achieving their goals. The challenge was created as an easy and fun way to engage middle school students with a positive message about prioritizing personal goals over retail marijuana use.
“The goal of the challenge was to inspire Colorado youth to be confident in themselves and their choices, and to remind them of what it feels like to accomplish something you set your mind to,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, department executive director and chief medical officer. “It was gratifying to see how many schools and students decided to take on the challenge.”
Sixty-two middle schools participated in the challenge, with students submitting more than 15,000 challenges. As a reminder of what it’s like to set and accomplish goals, students were asked to  complete brief challenges, such as carrying another student’s books, writing a thank you note to a teacher or challenging the principal to a dance-off. Students photographed or filmed their challenges and posted them on Instagram or submitted them privately using the challenge’s website
The school with the highest percentage of student participation in each enrollment category (fewer than 250 students, 250-499 students, 500-749 students and 750+ students) won a $10,000 prize to use for a school activity.
About the department’s Retail Marijuana Education Program
The Retail Marijuana Education Program is paid for with marijuana tax revenue. Projects include Good to Know; the Spanish-language campaign, Marihuana En Colorado, Lo Que Debes; and efforts to encourage youth to not use marijuana before age 21.
  • Protect What’s Next is a comprehensive media campaign showing how underage marijuana use has the potential to get in the way of youth achieving their short-term goals.
  • A complementary campaign encourages adults who youth trust and respect to deliver factual information about not using marijuana before age 21.