Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest: Action Steps

Conducting a Knights of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest is an excellent way to get the young people of your community involved in addressing issues that directly affect them. It is fun and easy to conduct.

● Fun because of the opportunity to witness the creativity and optimism of the young people in your community.

● Easy because you can tap into existing structures like schools, CYO’s, Squires circles, etc., to do a lot of preliminary work. It can also provide excellent local, and potentially international, publicity for the council.

These are the steps/tips in conducting a poster contest:

  1. The first step is to organize your contest. The council’s youth activities director, in consultation with the grand knight, should select a team that will administer the contest. This team will be involved in all phases of the contest: organization, publicity, judging, prizes, etc. Columbian Squires circles should work with their sponsoring councils in conducting contests. The council should be “ready to go” at the start of the school year, so that the participants can get right to work. A suggested time frame would be for the students to complete work on their posters during the first half of the school year, with the judging at the local level to take place during January. District judging should take place during February, with state winners chosen in early March. Entries for the international level of competition must be received at the Supreme Council office by March 31. International winners would be announced prior to the close of the school year.
  2. Once the team is in place, the next step is to contact all schools, both public and private, in your community to publicize your contest. Solicit the support of the teachers and administrators; ask them to encourage their students to participate. Teachers, school administrators and most importantly young people can serve as judges, as can substance abuse counselors, law enforcement officials and K of C officials. Each entry should be the work of an individual student. Schools can use the contest as a project for art, health or contemporary issues classes.
  3. If there are multiple schools participating, consider conducting preliminary judging. In this way, the people in the community that you ask to serve as judges, which should include young people, will not be overburdened with a volume of posters, and the judging process will proceed more quickly.
  4. Display promotional materials prominently. The posters included in the Poster Contest Packet should be displayed in any school from which students would participate, as well as youth centers, church halls, libraries, Boys & Girls Clubs, skating rinks, shopping centers, YMCA & YWCA buildings, and the council home. On the poster, indicate the name of the council contact person and a telephone number to call for additional information. Supplement these posters with newspaper ads, radio and TV spots and other publicity. Additional posters are available free of charge from the Supreme Council office.
  5. Build public interest in the contest. Use the sample press release to announce your contest to local newspapers and through radio announcements. Placing the promotional posters in prominent places around town will also accomplish this.
  6. Outline the criteria for your judges to use in rating the entries. The goal of this program is to create/increase awareness among young people of the problems of alcohol and drug abuse, while encouraging them to speak to other youngsters “in their own language” to address these vital issues. Meet with your judges in advance of the judging process so that all are “on the same page” regarding what to look for in a winning entry.
  7. Recognize everyone participating by presenting participation certificates to all who submit entries, and council champion certificates to your council’s winners. Encourage each school to develop some type of recognition for the winning entries in that particular school.