Thursday, December 22, 2011

Results of a December 2011 Alcohol Compliance Check in the Haines City, FL Area



The StandUP Polk Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk and the Haines City Police Department would like to share the results of a recent Compliance Check held to combat the illegal sale of alcohol to minors. Compliance checks are conducted periodically throughout our community to verify that retail establishments are following the law by not selling to minors, and checking proper identification to verify legal age.


Haines City Police Department Community Policing Officers and Agents within the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Bureau were assisted by high school Police Explorer volunteers in a compliance check of 30 establishments within the city limits of Haines City, FL, held on Friday, December 16, 2011.


Of the 30 retail establishments checked in this operation, 27 of the businesses were found to be in compliance with the Florida State Statutes as follows:

1. Citgo Gas Station, 1202 Polk City Road – No Sale
2. Liquor 5, 38 Maxcy Plaza - No Sale
3. CVS, 35799 Highway 27 North - No Sale
4. La Placita Mexico, 201 North 10th Street - No Sale
5. Wal-Mart, 36205 Highway 27 North - No Sale
6. Dollar General, 1391 Southern Dunes Blvd - No Sale
7. Winn Dixie, 36019 Highway 27 - No Sale
8. Publix, 617 West Highway 17-92 - No Sale
9. City Foods, 21 North 7th Street - No Sale
10. Shell Gas Station, 1199 Powerline Road - No Sale.
11. La Tapatia, 1102 North Highway 17-92 - No Sale
12. BP Gas Station, 501 Highway 17-92 North - No Sale
13. Rodriguez Fashion, 1100 Highway 17-92 North - No Sale
14. BP Gas Station, 95 Highway 17-92 West - No Sale
15. El Zocalo, 452 Highway 17-92 North - No Sale.
16. QP Gas Station, 2670 North Highway 17-92 - No Sale
17. Save-A-Lot, 1687 East Hinson Avenue - No Sale
18. Family Discount Beverage, 808 Ingraham Avenue - No Sale
19. Citgo, 2998 West 17-92 - No Sale
20. Sunoco, 3104 East Hinson Avenue - No Sale
21. El Ranchero, 2555 Highway 17-92 North - No Sale
22. CVS, 1701 East Hinson Avenue - No Sale
23. ABC Liquor Store, 701 West Highway 17-92 - No Sale
24. Kangaroo, 1013 East Hinson Avenue - No Sale
25. Publix Liquor Store, 39877 Highway 27 - No Sale
26. Walgreen’s Pharmacy, 40079 Highway 27 - No Sale
27. CVS, 39902 Highway 27 - No Sale

The 3 stores found NOT in compliance were:

7-11 Store, 38409 Highway 27, Haines City
First Choice Pharmacy, 401 East Hinson Avenue, Haines City
Sunoco SuperMart, 35855 US Highway 27, Haines City


The StandUP Polk Coalition and the Haines City Police Department commend and appreciate the majority of local retail outlets that are doing their part to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors.

Chief of Police, Richard H. Sloan, had this to say about the initiative, “This is an effective way to educate the local community and business owners that the Haines City Police Department will not tolerate the illegal sale of alcohol to minors.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

Free Tobacco Cessation Program Starts January 5, 2012

If you’ve resolved to make 2012 the year that you stamp out your smoking habit and enjoy the rest of your life smoke-free, support is just a phone call away!




InnerAct Alliance is proud to partner with Florida Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Network and Florida Department of Health to offer Polk County residents a Free Quit Smoking Now Tobacco Cessation program.


Quitting smoking is one of the healthiest lifestyle changes a person can make, but it can also be difficult to accomplish without support. The 5-week program, developed by ex-smokers for those who want to become ex-smokers themselves, runs from January 5 – February 2, 2012. Weekly meetings will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at tba church, 1815 East CR-540A, in Lakeland.


Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) patches will also available to participants free of charge.


For information about the Quit Smoking Now program or to register for the January 5th class, please call 1-877-252-6094.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

UthMpact Service Leadership Day on November 30, 2011

The next UthMpact Leadership Day will take place on Wednesday, November 30, 2011. The energetic group of high school students will embark on an action-filled day focused on service leadership and the positive impact of volunteerism in our community.

UthMpact Service Leadership Day will begin bright and early at 8:00 a.m. The teens will meet with administrators, tour the facilities, and serve as volunteers at local non-profit agencies including Lighthouse Ministries and Viste in Lakeland. Students will also bring along a book or canned goods to donate.

The UthMpact Leadership Program, spearheaded by InnerAct Alliance, StandUP Polk Coalition, and key business partners, is designed to help teens develop crucial leadership skills. The 30 student participants have been nominated by their high school principals. The teens will have a unique opportunity to meet with community leaders and experience the inner workings of local government, healthcare, education, and law enforcement. Future theme days include: Education Leadership Day (January 25); Government Leadership Day (February 22); Business Leadership Day (March 28); and Leadership Graduation (April 25th).

For additional information about the UthMpact leadership program, please contact Veronica Awai, UthMpact Coalition Coordinator, at (863) 802-0777, or via e-mail at: veronica@uthmpact.com. Find UthMpact on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UthMpact.

UthMpact Leadership "Law Enforcement & Emergency Services Day" Recap

Polk County high school students have been nominated by their school principals to participate in an exciting new UthMpact Leadership Program, spearheaded by InnerAct Alliance, StandUP Polk Coalition, and key community leaders, to help teens develop crucial leadership skills. The Leadership Program agenda includes 6 days from September 2011 through March 2012, on which the 30 participating youth leaders representing 11 different Polk County high schools will travel throughout the county to experience the inner workings of local government, health care, education, and law enforcement. The teens will meet with community leaders, discuss challenges, and recommend solutions for issues that face us now and in the future.

The second UthMpact Leadership Day was held on October 26, 2011 as the students were treated to a unique behind the scenes look at the inner workings of our city and county’s law enforcement and emergency services operations.

Two of the teen representatives who participated in UthMpact Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Leadership Day, Taylor Jones, a junior at Lake Gibson High School; and Jessica Emerson, a senior at Lake Gibson High School; shared the highlights of their action-filled day as follows:

Twenty-eight of us participated in UthMpact Leadership’s Law Enforcement & Emergency Services Day, where we were able to experience some of the activities performed by local police, sheriff’s office, and safety professionals who serve and protect our community.
First, we toured the Telecommunications area and Forensics Lab at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Winter Haven. This was one of the highlights of our day because we were able to test finger printing equipment and view some actual crime scenes. From there, it was on to the Lakeland Police Department where we visited different service units in the building, along with the book-in area. One of the highlights of our time spent at LPD was an awesome demonstration from the K-9 and SWAT units.

Our next stop was at the Polk Central County Jail in Bartow for lunch and a tour of a jail pod unit. We visited the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Training Center and shooting range where local law enforcement train to use various weapons. Then we met at the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office and saw the rooms used for autopsies and body storage. Touring the morgue and jail facilities had a big impact on our group...the reality of it made us all realize where we don’t want to end up! Winter Haven Fire Department was the last stop to learn about the various components of the fire truck. In all, it was quite interesting to learn about all of the aspects of our county’s law enforcement and emergency services departments!

Other theme days for future months include: Volunteer Leadership Day (November 30); Education Leadership Day (January 25); Government Leadership Day (February 22); Business Leadership Day (March 28); and Leadership Graduation (April 25th). At the end of each Leadership Day, the UthMpact teens gather for a General Meeting, beginning at 5:30 pm, at the Sheriff’s Office, located at 1819 Jim Keene Blvd., in Winter Haven. The meeting is open to any middle or high school student who may be interested in attending.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

UthMpact Leadership “Health & Wellness Day” Recap

Polk County high school students have been nominated by their school principals to participate in an exciting new UthMpact Leadership Program, spearheaded by InnerAct Alliance, StandUP Polk Coalition, and key community leaders, to help teens develop crucial leadership skills. The agenda includes 6 days from September 2011 - March 2012, on which the youth leaders will travel throughout Polk County experiencing the inner workings of local government, health care, education, and law enforcement. They will meet with community leaders, discuss challenges, and recommend solutions for issues that face us now and in the future.

The first UthMpact Leadership Day was held on September 28th as students from 11 different high schools embarked on Health & Wellness Leadership Day. Three of the youth representatives - Tashana Hazelwood, a junior at Lakeland High School; Cody Gill, a senior at Lake Region High School; and Taylor Jones, a junior at Lake Gibson High School, shared some insight to their experience with us:

Twenty-nine students were excused from regular school classes on September 28th to participate in UthMpact Leadership’s Health & Wellness Day. We had a rare opportunity to experience a typical day in the life of medical professionals who serve in our community.

Our first stop was at Lake Eva Park, where we met the Gordon Broadhead, the Recreation Supervisor for Haines City Parks & Recreation Department. He took us on a tour of Lake Eva Park, where we learned about its history. We also met with Carolyn Jackson, Senior VP of Member Relations of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, who had us take a DISC personality test to learn which characteristic was most dominant in our personality. DISC is an acronym for the different personality types: D – dominance; I – influence; S- steadiness/submission; and C – compliance/caution. The test was fun and also helped provide us understand one another better, and even learn something about ourselves that we might not have known about previously. Afterwards, we participated in a water tower activity involving balloons and spaghetti strings that was a lot of fun!

Next on the agenda was a meeting and tour of the facility at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. We had lunch with Jeff Payne, Vice President of Human Resources Services at LRMC, who explained about the hospital’s history and operations, and took us on a tour of a few sections of the hospital including the laundry department, emergency room trauma, pharmacy, and lab. Before moving from the hospital to the Sheriff’s Office for our general meeting, we stopped for a well-deserved ice cream break. It was a great first day, and we’ve learned that we all are anxious for more hands-on activities and ice cream!

Other theme days for future months include: Law Enforcement Leadership Day (October 26); Volunteer Leadership Day (November 30); Education Leadership Day (January 25); Government Leadership Day (February 22); Business Leadership Day (March 28); and Leadership Graduation (April 25th). At the end of each Leadership Day, the UthMpact teens gather at a General Meeting, beginning at 5:30 pm, at the Sheriff’s Office, located at 1819 Jim Keene Blvd., in Winter Haven. The meeting is open to any middle or high school student who may be interested in attending.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

OVER 1,000 PARTICIPATED IN THE 20th ANNUAL RED RIBBON RUN

photo courtesy of: Photography by Audrey

Over 1,000 youth and adults participated in the 20th Annual Red Ribbon Run, the largest youth running event in Polk County, on Saturday morning, November 5, 2011, at Joker Marchant Stadium at Tigertown in Lakeland. The event was presented by InnerAct Alliance, Title Sponsor, Madden Branded Goods, and other local business and contributing sponsors.

This year’s event included 1,080 participants, with 1,026 Kindergarten through Fifth Grade runners, and 54 Open Race runners in grade 6 through adult. The Red Ribbon Run race course is one mile, except for K, 1st and 2nd grade students who run a one-half mile course. Results of the 2011 Red Ribbon Run Open Race (men and women), Challenge (disabled), and K-5 Grade Heat (girls and boys) are included below.

Participation trophies were awarded to the top 3 elementary schools and top middle school with the highest percentage of event attendance based on school census numbers:

Top 3 Elementary Schools

1st Place: Philip O’Brien Elementary - 46% (formerly Lime Street)
2nd Place: Carlton Palmore Elementary - 21%
3rd Place: Highlands Grove Elementary - 20%

Top Middle School Tie: Lakeland Highlands Middle and Southwest Middle


2011 RED RIBBON RUN RESULTS
Saturday, November 5, 2011 – Joker Marchant Stadi
um

CHALLENGE RUN (disabled)

David Matlick
Benjamin Cone
Dawson Russell

OPEN RACE for 6th Grade – Adult

MEN
Jarod Fuller - 5.26 - age 14
Alex Zalanka - 5.29 - age 16
Tony Trott - 5.42 - age 43
Hunter Foust - 5.43 - age 17
Sebastian Hernandez - 5.51 - age 44
Eric Alvarado - 6.03 - age 32
Ronnie Testerman - 6.06 - age 24
Nelson Rojag - 6.19 - age 13
Kurt Jung - 6.20 - age 47
Gavin Thompson - 6.28 - age 13

WOMEN
Tori Jung - 6.25 - age 14
Katrina Hutching - 6.34 - age 33
Susie Moerschbacher - 7.00 - age 42
Rhonda Fogger - 7.16 - age 60
Amy Plaisled - 7.25 - age 37
Laura Reugg - 7.45 - age 42
Darla Dooley - 7.59 - age 36
Stephanie Astuto - 8.00 - age 29
Stacy Bradley - 8.21 - age 40
Megan Brock - 9.42 - age 29

KINDERGARTEN GRADE HEAT

GIRLS
1ST - Susie Davis, South McKeel
2ND - Kendall Orme, South Mckeel
3RD - Scarlett McKendrick, Highlands Grove
4TH - Joanne Garvey, Philip O’Brien
5TH - Mikan Williams, Philip O’Brien

BOYS
1ST - Caleb Smith, Highlands Grove
2ND - Michael Moon, Philip O’Brien
3RD - Jackson Winter, Lincoln
4TH - Hayden Testerman, Blake
5TH - Alan Moreira, Oscar J Pope

1ST GRADE HEAT

GIRLS
1ST - Bella Crosser, South McKeel
2ND - Destinee Wilson, Highlands Grove
3RD - Madi Novoty, R. Bruce Wagner
4TH - Elleana Bush, Philip O’ Brien
5TH - Megan Coyle, Philip O’ Brien

BOYS
1ST - Owen Jeffries, Lincoln
2ND - Yohanece Love, Victory Christian Academy
3RD - Mark Johnson, Lincoln
4TH - Isaac Morrison, North McKeel
5TH - Cody Copponex,Phillip O’Brien

2nd GRADE HEAT

GIRLS
1ST - Stephanie Hernandez, Winston
2ND - Lillian Beardsly, Highlands Grove
3RD - Monica Hernandez, Spessard L. Holland
4TH - Audrey Fagan, South McKeel
5TH - Laken Campbell, Lincoln

BOYS
1ST - Miles Jeffries, Lincoln
2ND - Robby Putnam, Spessard L. Holland
3RD - Vance Borches, R. Bruce Wagner
4TH - Cole Jeffries, Lincoln
5TH - Drew Jeffries, Lincoln

3rd GRADE HEAT

GIRLS
1ST - Elizabeth Beardsly, Highlands Grove
2ND - Dalylah Vilsaint, Highlands Grove
3RD - Anyla Bogdanvova, Philip O’Brien
4TH - Maggie Sullivan, South McKeel
5TH - Emily Orme, South McKeel

BOYS
1ST - Adrian Cornejo, St. Pauls
2ND - Brendon Abdon, Lincoln
3RD - Justin Brown, Philip O’Brien
4TH - Jayden Berry, Highlands Grove
5TH - Christian Goers, Padgett

4th GRADE HEAT

GIRLS
1ST - Inga Carrillo, Lincoln
2ND - Britain Musick, Lakeland Christian
3RD - Anna Sentner, Lincoln
4TH - Melanie Gaigeaquino, Philip O’Brien
5TH - Faith Yard, Lincoln

BOYS
1ST - Culby Fernandet, Philip O’Brien
2ND - Austin Cowans, Southwest
3RD - Caleb Poe, Philip O’Brien
4TH - Mathew Edmondson, Highlands Grove
5TH - Tyler Hunt, Philip O’Brien

5th GRADE HEAT

GIRLS
1ST - Emma Anderson, Polk City
2ND - Katie Moerschbacher,,South McKeel
3RD - Tabitha Collins, Philip O’Brien
4TH - Jasmine Brown, Oscar J Pope
5TH - Kiersten Marrin, Highlands Grove

BOYS
1ST - Tyler Fine, Carlton Palmore
2ND - Jordan Heckler, Carlton Palmore
3RD - Branden Ball, Phillip O’Brien
4TH - Brady Timmerman, Scott Lake
5TH - Ronnie Garbey, Phillip O’Brien

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Healthy Red Ribbon Family Fun Planned For Saturday!


HEALTHY RED RIBBON FAMILY FUN PLANNED FOR SATURDAY!

The 20th Annual Red Ribbon Run, the largest youth running event in Polk County, is coming up this Saturday morning, November 5th, at Joker Marchant Stadium at Tigertown in Lakeland.

Event registration is FREE for K-5 grade students. Participants who pre-register through their school will receive a FREE Celebrate Drug Free Red Ribbon Run t-shirt. All age groups are welcome. Adults and students in grade 6 and older may compete in the Open Run for a $10.00 registration fee. Registration check-in begins at 7 a.m., with the first race starting at 8 a.m. Prizes will be awarded and the school with the largest percentage of students in attendance will win a special participation trophy.

Run festivities also include the Kids Health & Wellness Carnival, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., to celebrate the benefits of healthy living. Wristbands will be sold for $5.00 admission to enjoy interactive attractions, refreshments and entertainment. To promote healthy minds as well as healthy bodies, each K-5th grade student who participates in the Run and Carnival events will receive a FREE children’s book! Local youth groups and organizations will provide kids’ services, and the Blood Net USA bloodmobile will also be on hand from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those interested in donating blood, can make an appointment online by visiting: https://www.fbsdonor.org/index.cfm?group=op&hlc=L0576.

For more information on Red Ribbon activities, please call InnerAct Alliance’s executive director, Angie Ellison, at (863) 802-0777.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Prescription Drug Take Back Event Nets Over 700 lbs. of Pharmaceuticals


StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, and local law enforcement agencies were proud to participate in the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back event on Saturday, October 29, 2011, and host our community’s Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off at 5 locations throughout Polk County for citizens to turn in unused, expired, or unwanted Human and Pet Medications for safe and proper disposal.

An estimated 737.68 pounds of recovered pharmaceuticals were collected and safely disposed of via incineration. Five drop-off sites included Auburndale Police Department, Haines City Police Department, Lake Alfred Police Department, Lakeland Police Department, and Winter Haven Police Department.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. More than seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Each day, approximately, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet. Previous prescription medication collections held in Polk County, FL have resulted in nearly 1,700 pounds of recovered pharmaceuticals.

StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, is a group of concerned citizens, law enforcement, community and business leaders working together to take a stand against drugs and bring about positive change for Polk County. For more information, please contact Lisa Jones, StandUP Polk coalition coordinator, at (863) 802-0777.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off This Saturday!


StandUP Polk and local law enforcement agencies are proud to join The Drug Enforcement Administration and its national and community partners for another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, October 29th from 10 am to 2 pm, for citizens who want to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs.

Our community’s Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off will include 5 locations in Polk County for citizens to turn in unused, expired, or unwanted Human and Pet Medications for safe and proper disposal. Medications should be placed in a clear, air-tight plastic bag.

Drop-off locations on October 29th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm are:

Auburndale Police Department – 2 Bobby Green Plaza, Auburndale, FL
Haines City Police Department – 35400 Highway 27, Haines City, FL
Lake Alfred Police Department – 190 North Seminole Avenue, Lake Alfred, FL
Lakeland Police Department – 219 N. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL
Winter Haven Police Department – 125 North Lake Silver Drive NW, Winter Haven, FL

For more information on the local Pill Drop event or locations, please contact StandUP Polk at (863) 802-0777.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Healthy Red Ribbon Family Fun Planned for November 5, 2011


Mark your calendar and plan to attend the 20th Annual Red Ribbon Run, the largest youth running event in Polk County, on Saturday morning, November 5, 2011, at Joker Marchant Stadium at Tigertown in Lakeland.

Event registration is FREE for K-5 grade students. Participants who pre-register through their school will receive a FREE Celebrate Drug Free Red Ribbon Run t-shirt. All age groups are welcome. Adults and students in grade 6 and older may compete in the Open Run for a $10.00 registration fee. Registration check-in begins at 7 a.m., with the first race starting at 8 a.m. Prizes will be awarded and the school with the largest percentage of students in attendance will win a special participation trophy.

Run festivities also include the Kids Health & Wellness Carnival, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., to celebrate the benefits of healthy living. Wristbands will be sold for $5.00 admission to enjoy interactive attractions, refreshments and entertainment. To promote healthy minds as well as healthy bodies, each K-5th grade student who participates in the Run and Carnival events will receive a FREE children’s book! Local youth groups and organizations will provide kids’ services, and the Blood Net USA bloodmobile will also be on hand from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those interested in donating blood, can make an appointment online by visiting: https://www.fbsdonor.org/index.cfm?group=op&hlc=L0576.

For more information on Red Ribbon activities, please call InnerAct Alliance’s executive director, Angie Ellison, at (863) 802-0777.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off - Saturday October 29, 2011



StandUP Polk and local law enforcement agencies are proud to join The Drug Enforcement Administration and its national and community partners for another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, October 29, 2011, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, for citizens who want to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. More than seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Each day, approximately, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.

Our community’s Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off will include 5 locations in Polk County for citizens to turn in unused, expired, or unwanted Human and Pet Medications for safe and proper disposal. Medications should be placed in a clear, air-tight plastic bag.

Drop-off locations on October 29th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm are:

Auburndale Police Department – 2 Bobby Green Plaza, Auburndale, FL
Haines City Police Department – 35400 Highway 27, Haines City, FL
Lake Alfred Police Department – 190 North Seminole Avenue, Lake Alfred, FL
Lakeland Police Department – 219 N. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL
Winter Haven Police Department – 125 North Lake Silver Drive NW, Winter Haven, FL


Previous prescription medication collections held in Polk County in spring and fall 2010 and spring 2011 have resulted in nearly 1,700 pounds of recovered pharmaceuticals. All medications were safely disposed of via incineration.
For more information on the local Pill Drop event or locations, please contact StandUP Polk at (863) 802-0777.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Florida Attorney General Will Attend Proclamation of Red Ribbon Month – October 3, 2011


Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi, will be in town on Monday, October 3, 2011 to show her support for substance abuse prevention and accompany members of InnerAct Alliance to receive a Proclamation of Red Ribbon Month from Mayor Gow Fields at the Lakeland City Commission meeting at approximately 9 a.m. at City Hall. Attorney General Bondi is focused on protecting Floridians, and she has served as a champion in shifting the tide against prescription drug abuse by supporting the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) and strengthening penalties against pill mills.

The official Red Ribbon Proclamation by the City of Lakeland will kick off a month of special Red Ribbon activities sponsored by InnerAct Alliance to raise awareness of substance abuse, and encourage communities to present a unified, visible commitment for a drug-free environment. The Red Ribbon is the universal symbol for alcohol, tobacco, and other substance abuse prevention. Similar proclamations will be presented to InnerAct Alliance by the Polk County Board of County Commissioners on October 11, 2011, and by the Polk County School Board on October 25, 2011.

The signature event to culminate Red Ribbon Month is the 20th Annual Red Ribbon Run and Kids Health & Wellness Carnival, on Saturday, November 5, 2011, at Tigertown’s Joker Marchant Stadium. Over 3,000 parents, educators and elementary school students will participate in the largest youth running event in Polk County. Students in grades K-5 can register free and receive a free Run T-Shirt. Adults and students in grades 6 and above compete in the Open Race for a $10 registration fee. Registration check-in begins at 7 a.m., with the first race starting at 8 a.m. Prizes will be awarded and the school with the largest percentage of students in attendance will win a special participation trophy.

Festivities also include the Kids Health & Wellness Carnival from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to celebrate the importance of good health. Wristbands will be sold for $5 admission for kids age 3 & up to enjoy interactive activities and entertainment. K-5th grade participants will receive a free book to take home.

The Red Ribbon Campaign originated when Federal Agent Enrique Camarena was tortured and murdered by drug traffickers in 1985. The Red Ribbon became the symbol to reduce the demand for drugs. Today, the Red Ribbon symbolizes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle and red ribbons are worn and displayed by citizens committed to preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug problems across America.
InnerAct Alliance, formerly the Drug Prevention Resource Center, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency established in 1985 to reduce the abuse and underage use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs through: Community Awareness and Involvement; Prevention Education; Economic Support; and Leadership Development. The agency provides substance abuse education programs in the Hardee, Highlands and Polk county areas, and also serves as the fiscal agent for the StandUP Polk (adult-based) and UthMpact (youth-based) Coalitions for a Drug-Free Polk. For more information on the State Attorney General’s visit, or Red Ribbon Campaign activities, please contact InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777 or visit our web site at www.inneractalliance.org.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tonight: Eat Dinner With Your Kids!



Dinner makes a difference in the success of our children! Join families across the country today, September 26th, to celebrate Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children! Family Day is a national movement to inform parents that parental engagement fostered during frequent family dinners is an effective tool to help keep America’s children substance free.

InnerAct Alliance and StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, are proud to partner with Fred’s Market to celebrate Family Day! Fred’s Market locations in Lakeland, Bartow, Winter Haven, and Plant City will offer a Family Day Special of a FREE KIDS BUFFET for every Adult Buffet purchased (children age 11 & under, limit one child per one adult in your party) from 4 PM until closing today, Monday, September 26th only.

Family Dinners are the perfect time for parents to talk to their children and to listen to what’s on their mind, so come on down to Fred’s Market tonight or cook up a delicious family dinner together at home to show support for your kids and for the prevention effort.

For more information about Family Day, visit www.CASAFamilyDay.org or call InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children


Did you know that eating dinner frequently with your children reduces their risk of substance abuse? Research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University has consistently found that children who have frequent family dinners are less likely to use marijuana, tobacco and drink alcohol.

Monday, September 26th will mark CASA’s 11th annual Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your ChildrenTM celebration. Family Day is a national movement to inform parents that parental engagement fostered during frequent family dinners is an effective tool to help keep America’s children substance free and reminds parents that “Dinner Makes a Difference!”

InnerAct Alliance and StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, are proud to partner with Fred’s Market to celebrate Family Day! All 4 Fred’s Market locations in Lakeland, Bartow, Winter Haven, and Plant City will offer a Family Day Special of a FREE KIDS BUFFET for every Adult Buffet purchased (children age 11 & under, limit one child per one adult in your party) from 4 PM until closing on September 26th.

Family Dinners are the perfect time for parents to talk to their children and to listen to what’s on their mind, so come on down to Fred’s Market next Monday to show support for your kids and for the prevention effort.

For more information about Family Day, visit www.CASAFamilyDay.org or call InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

InnerAct Alliance's "Celebrate Drug Free" Red Ribbon Bus!



It's Red Ribbon Time!

Be on the Lookout for InnerAct Alliance's Drug Free is HOT Red Ribbon Bus traveling on the roads throughout Polk County during September and October! Special thanks to Citrus Connection, Madden Brand Identity and Dixie Signs for their kind support and helpful assistance in making this a reality for our agency!

2nd ANNUAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG SUMMIT



Lakeland, FL – The Coalition Partnership of Hardee County Alliance for Substance Abuse and Pregnancy Prevention, Drug Free Highlands, and StandUP Polk is proud to present the 2nd Annual Prescription Drug Summit on Monday, September 19, 2011, at The First Baptist Church of Bartow. This collaborative event is being held to inform the community about the latest trends in prescription drug abuse, and develop proactive measures to prevent substance abuse in our families, schools and businesses.

Event check-in begins at 7:30 AM. The Keynote Speaker will be Sharon Kelley, MS, PMD, and CEO of Alliance for Global Narcotics Training, Inc., who will address attendees from 8:15-10:00 AM. Panel discussions and solution-planning groups facilitated by the coalition coordinators and partners will take place immediately afterwards.

The afternoon session includes a presentation by Circuit Leadership advocates for child welfare. A special workshop, entitled Everybody’s a Teacher, will focus on how individuals, leaders, and agencies in our community can work together to achieve better education outcomes and offer valuable support for the education of children in the foster care system.

Admission is FREE, but advance registration is required as seating is limited. Complimentary light breakfast and lunch will be served, and participants may earn free CEU’s, CME’s, or Certificate of Attendance.

Visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Y7D9FX62ndannualPrescriptionDrugSummit to register online, or call Hardee County ASAPP (863) 773-6349 (to Suzanne Lambert); Drug Free Highlands (863) 382-2138 (to Amanda Sherley); or Stand UP Polk at (863) 802-0777 (to Lisa Jones).

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

1st Ever County-Wide Youth Leadership Program



Students from various Polk County high schools have recently been nominated by their school principals and community leaders to participate in an exciting new Youth Leadership Program, the first of its kind in the county, and spearheaded by InnerAct Alliance and key business partners to help teens develop crucial leadership skills.

On August 16-17, 2011, a group of over 30 teens from 11 different Polk County schools took part in the UthMpact Leadership Retreat at the Florida FFA Leadership Training Center in Haines City, to kick-off the program, develop team presentations, and enjoy Leadership Olympics games and activities led by motivation expert, Patrick T. Grady, a former middle and high school educator, author of the book titled, “Who Packs the Parachute,” and co-author of “Teen Power Too” and “Teen Power and Beyond.”

Once a month, beginning in September 2011, youth leaders will travel throughout Polk County to spend the day experiencing the inner workings of local government, health care, education, and law enforcement. The group will meet with community leaders, discuss challenges, and recommend solutions for issues that face us now and in the future.

The Leadership Program agenda includes 6 days from September-March, each with different themes:

September 28 – Health and Wellness Leadership Day
October 26 – Law Enforcement Leadership Day
November 30 – Volunteer Leadership Day
January 25 – Education Leadership Day
February 22 – Government Leadership Day
March 28 – Business Leadership Day
April 25 – Leadership Graduation Evening

UthMpact is the dynamic coalition of teen leaders committed to helping educate and deliver key substance abuse prevention messages to teens by their peers. Coalition goals for UthMpact are to provide positive community engagement; change community stereotypes about teen drug use by volunteering, informing and being educated; set examples for other teens; increase coalition membership and involvement in youth clubs in high schools; and positively encourage alcohol and tobacco prevention and cessation.

For additional information on the UthMpact Leadership Program, please call Veronica Awai at (863) 802-0777, visit www.uthmpact.com, or find UthMpact on Facebook.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Free Tobacco Cessation Program Starts September 1, 2011



Quitting smoking is one of the healthiest lifestyle changes a person can make, but it can also be difficult to accomplish without support. InnerAct Alliance is proud to partner with Florida Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Network and Florida Department of Health to offer Polk County residents a Free Quit Smoking Now Tobacco Cessation program.

The six-week program begins on September 1, 2011, and was developed by ex-smokers for those who want to become ex-smokers themselves. Weekly meetings will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at tba church, located at 1815 County Road 540A, in Lakeland.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) patches will also available to participants free of charge.

For information about the Quit Smoking Now program or to register for the September 1st class, please call 1-877-252-6094.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Congratulations UthMpact Teen Leaders!



Members of the StandUP Polk and UthMpact Coalitions for a Drug-Free Polk gathered on June 16, 2011 for their Annual Planning Retreat to help guide prevention and coalition leadership toward long-term success and sustainability.

UthMpact is the dynamic coalition for teens to educate and empower their peers to make healthy decisions and take action against alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. During the past year, UthMpact members contributed a total of 568.5 service hours serving our community and providing youth with prevention services and information.

Ten of the top UthMpact team leaders in attendance were congratulated and awarded certificates for the hours of service they completed from July 2010 to June 2011 as follows:

Taylor Jones – 150.5 hours
Tait Jones – 129.75 hours
Tori Ellison - 46 hours
Shannon Lyons – 28 hours
Seth Stone - 23.25 hours
Rachel Martin – 16.25 hours
Coni Davis – 11.75 hours
Erica Schaaf – 9.25 hours
Josh Richburg – 6.75 hours
Emi Davis – 2 hours

UthMpact is always looking for new members, so if you are a teen who would like to make a positive impact in the community, please attend one of our UthMpact Meet-Ups starting in September on the 4th Wednesday of each month.

For more information, contact UthMpact Coalition Coordinator, Veronica Awai, at veronica@uthmpact.com. You can also visit www.UthMpact.com or find UthMpact on Facebook.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer To Do List: Relax, Refresh, Reduce Risks!



Who among us hasn’t hummed a chorus or two of the classic rock song “School’s Out” lately? Another school year has ended, summer is upon us, and it’s time to refresh and relax regular routines a bit. As parents and concerned citizens, summer also comes with a responsibility to ensure that teens enjoy a break from the school year pressures without becoming involved in negative behaviors.

Summer is the riskiest time of year when it comes to teens and substance abuse, particularly alcohol and marijuana. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more teens try marijuana for the first time in June, July, and August than any other time of the year. The lack of structure and supervision, added freedom and more time with friends may increase temptation and access to alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs.

Marijuana is much more harmful than many parents and teens think. It is a more potent blend than what was available in the 1960s and 1970s. The facts show that marijuana can be addictive, and lead to a host of health, social and behavioral problems at a crucial time when teens’ bodies and brains are still in development.

According to TheAntiDrug.com, kids who use marijuana in early adolescence are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as delinquency, sexual activity, driving while high, or riding with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They are also more likely to perceive drugs as not harmful, and have friends who exhibit deviant behavior.

It’s not too late to sit down with your teen and make a summer plan that includes safe and fun activities to do with friends and as a family to beat the heat. The Parents, The Anti-Drug website offers some great ideas for summer fun including sports, games, activities, volunteerism, entrepreneurship, education, etc. Make time to visit the summer activities checklist at http://theantidrug.com/SchoolsOut/engage.asp to explore what your teens’ interests might be! Have a safe and fun summer!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Family InnerActions - A New Group for Families with Babies!


InnerAct Alliance is proud to introduce Family InnerActions – Prevention’s First Steps, an exciting new interactive group specially designed for families with babies age newborn through 3 years to come together to enjoy adult conversation, learn, and bond with their babies, and watch them grow in a friendly, supportive environment.

The Family InnerActions group meets on Tuesday mornings from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at tba Church, located at 1815 County Road 540A, in Lakeland. Admission is free and pre-registration is not required. Participants need only to bring their baby, a blanket, and baby toys to play with.

For additional information, please call Juli Davis, Community Outreach, InnerAct Aliance, at (863) 802-0777 or find us on Facebook at Family InnerActions – Non-Profit Organization.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Congratulations Winter Haven/Haines City Area Winners of Red Ribbon Rally Poster, Poetry & Essay Contests

InnerAct Alliance is proud to announce the winners of its Poster, Poetry and Essay Contests for Fifth Grade Students in the greater Winter Haven/Haines City area schools. Contest participants will be recognized during the Red Ribbon Rally this morning at 10:00 a.m. at Polk State College Gym in Winter Haven.

The anti-drug rally focuses on reinforcing critical substance abuse resistance skills before students enter middle school in the fall. Students were challenged to use their creative talents to compose essays, write poems, or draw posters to illustrate topical messages about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Overall winners in each category will receive cash prizes of $100 (first place), $50 (second place), and $25 (third place) in each contest category.

Guest speaker for the Rally is Patrick T. Grady, a former middle and high school educator who travels throughout North America inspiring and encouraging individuals to do their best in all of their endeavors. Grady is the author of the book titled, “Who Packs the Parachute,” and co-author of “Teen Power Too,” and the book, “Teen Power and Beyond.” Community leaders will also be on hand to encourage the choice of a positive, healthy lifestyle without the use of drugs.

Similar rallies for Lakeland area schools took place last week on May 4th at The Lakeland Center.

The mission of InnerAct Alliance is to reduce the abuse and underage use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs through: Community Awareness and Involvement; Prevention Education; Economic Support; and Leadership Development. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency is proud to offer substance abuse prevention to the Hardee, Highlands and Polk County communities with services including science-based education in elementary and middle schools, drug-free puppet shows, informative presentations and family-oriented awareness events that touch the lives of youth, parents, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, community groups and others in need with an important substance abuse message.

Winter Haven/Haines City Winners of Red Ribbon Rallies Poster, Essay & Poetry Contest

Poster Winners
Auburndale Central – Bethany Aguillon
Berkley Charter – Bryanna Rials
Bethune Academy – Marialys Cirilo
Caldwell – Zach Torres
Chain of Lakes – Sara Avellaneda
Davenport School of the Arts – Vanessa Franco
Dundee – Claudio Estrada
Eastside – Ruby Estrada
Elbert – Alyssa Anderson
Garden Grove – Katherine Corrales
Hartridge Academy – Dezarae Maldonado
Horizons – Sophia Campanello
Inwood – Chardonnay Webster
Janie Howard Wilson – Lexi Schmidt
Lake Alfred – Nicholas McClure
Lake Marion Creek – Angelia Rosario
Lake Shipp – Caleb Gilileo
Laurel – Elijah Paz
Lena Vista – Jadon Gore
Loughman Oaks – Yairaberth Vazquez
Palmetto – Keish Marie Valles
Pinewood – Johnna Hunter
Polk City – Deseray Woods
Snively – Shadae Arnold

Poetry Winners
Auburndale Central – Jenica Louis
Berkley Charter - Deyawna Northern
Bethune Academy – Nylah Knight
Caldwell – Cameron Gainey
Davenport School of the Arts – Priscilla Mandujano
Dundee – Amanda Parker
Eastside – Chela Legros
Elbert – Lauren Azurin
Garden Grove – Trevor Crank
Inwood – Gaven Barley
Janie Howard Wilson – Katy Hadden
Lake Alfred – Karla Hoffman
Lake Marion Creek – Cheyenne Cottingham
Lake Shipp – Martine Mitchell
Laurel – Keyannie Pineiro
Lena Vista – Cassie Johnson
Loughman Oaks – Sharon Barahona
Palmetto – Elizabeth Myrick
Pinewood – Conner Tibbetts
Snively – Yereli Mejia

Essay Winners

Auburndale Central - Courtney Reyes
Berkley Charter – Sarah Jeppeson
Caldwell – Jalen Gaskins
Chain of Lakes – Martin Farhangmehr
Davenport School of the Arts – Sophie Leniz
Dundee – Meagan Tomlin
Eastside – Felicity Jo Hufstetler
Elbert – Jaxson Trotti
Horizons – Rachel Marti
Inwood – Equilla Earle
Janie Howard Wilson – Eva Atkinson
Lake Alfred – Gabrielle Figueroa
Lake Shipp – Olivia Joy Thompson
Laurel – Jonathan Garcia
Lena Vista – Hailey Auterson
Loughman Oaks – Zoe Hernandez Carrijo
Palmetto – Char-D’Nea Peters
Pinewood – Tiahna Braddy

Winter Haven/Haines City – Red Ribbon Rally Contest Overall Prize Winners
Poster Contest
1st Place - $100.00 - Vanessa Franco, Davenport School of the Arts
2nd Place - $ 50.00 - Ruby Estrada, Eastside Elementary
3rd Place - $ 25.00 - Yairaberth Vazquez, Loughman Oaks Elementary

Poetry Contest
1st Place - $100.00 - Keyannie Pineiro, Laurel Elementary
2nd Place - $ 50.00 - Deyawna Northern, Berkley Charter
3rd Place - $ 25.00 - Priscilla Mandujano, Davenport School of the Arts

Essay Contest
1st Place - $100.00 - Jalen Gaskins, Caldwell Elementary
2nd Place - $ 50.00 - Gabrielle Figueroa, Lake Alfred Elementary
3rd Place - $ 25.00 - Jonathan Garcia, Laurel Elementary

School with the Most Contest Participants Overall - Berkley Charter School

Monday, May 9, 2011

Prescription Drug Take Back Nets Over 1000 lbs. of Pharmaceuticals



StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, and local law enforcement agencies were proud to participate in the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back event on Saturday, April 30, 2011, and host our community’s Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off at 11 locations in Hardee and Polk Counties in Central Florida for citizens to turn in unused, expired, or unwanted Human and Pet Medications for safe and proper disposal.

An estimated 1,022.4 pounds of recovered pharmaceuticals were collected and safely disposed of via incineration. Drop-off sites hosted by participating partners included Auburndale Police Department, City of Zolfo Springs Sheriff Substation, Davenport Police Department, Florida Dept. of Transportation hosted by the Bartow Police Department, Haines City Police Department, Hardee County Sheriff’s Office, Lake Alfred Police Department, Lake Wales Police Department, Lakeland Police Department, Winter Haven Police Department, and Wauchula Police Department.

For those unable to make it on April 30th, Home Instead Senior Care and Hawthorne Inn of Lakeland also served as collection sites on Friday, April 29, 2011 from 9 AM to 1 PM.

Two countywide prescription medication collections held previously in Polk County, FL in spring and fall 2010 resulted in an estimated 650 pounds of recovered pharmaceuticals. StandUP Polk partners plan to host future pill drop events and hope to establish a permanent pill drop off venue in the county soon to assist residents in proper disposal of unused prescription medications in an environmentally safe manner, and help decrease the availability of expired or unwanted medications to reduce prescription drugs abuse.

StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, is a group of concerned citizens, law enforcement, community and business leaders working together to take a stand against drugs and bring about positive change for Polk County.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Congratulations Lakeland Area Winners of Red Ribbon Rallies Poster, Poetry & Essay Contests

InnerAct Alliance is proud to announce the winners of its Poster, Poetry and Essay Contests for Fifth Grade Students in the greater Lakeland area schools. Contest participants will be recognized during the Red Ribbon Rallies, which take place this morning at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at The Lakeland Center.

The anti-drug rallies focus on reinforcing critical substance abuse resistance skills before students enter middle school in the fall. Students were challenged to use their creative talents to compose essays, write poems, or draw posters to illustrate topical messages about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Overall winners in each category will be awarded cash prizes of $100 (first place), $50 (second place), and $25 (third place) in each contest category.

Guest speaker for the Rallies is Patrick T. Grady, a former middle and high school educator who travels throughout North America inspiring and encouraging individuals to do their best in all of their endeavors. Grady is the author of the book titled, “Who Packs the Parachute,” and co-author of “Teen Power Too,” and the book, “Teen Power and Beyond.” Community leaders will also be on hand to encourage the choice of a positive, healthy lifestyle without the use of drugs.

Another rally for Winter Haven and Haines City area schools will be held next Thursday, May 12, at 10:00 a.m. in the Polk State College Gym. Contest winners for those schools will be announced next week.

The mission of InnerAct Alliance is to reduce the abuse and underage use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs through: Community Awareness and Involvement; Prevention Education; Economic Support; and Leadership Development. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency is proud to offer substance abuse prevention to the Hardee, Highlands and Polk County communities with services including science-based education in elementary and middle schools, drug-free puppet shows, informative presentations and family-oriented awareness events that touch the lives of youth, parents, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, community groups and others in need with an important substance abuse message.

For further information on the Fifth Grade Rallies on May 3rd and 12th, please call InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Congratulations to the Lakeland Area Winners of 2011 Red Ribbon Rallies Poster, Essay & Poetry Contest

Blake Academy
Poster - Jaime Lara
Poetry - Parris Chaloux
Essay - Zack Nabinger

Carlton Palmore
Poster - Ixchel Collazo
Poetry - Caitlin Wizda
Essay - Francisco Feliu

Churchwell
Poster - Alyssa Seda
Poetry - Alexa Estremera
Essay - Tiana Jones

Cleveland Court
Poetry - Sydney Braggs

Combee
Poster - Kaylee Martin
Poetry - Kaley May
Essay - Peyton Carter

Crystal Lake
Poster - Hailey Nicolodi
Poetry - Deion Sheffield
Essay - Rashell Fernandez

Dixieland
Poster - Gabrela Vazquez
Poetry - Shawn Saddler
Essay - Zari Bouie

Griffin
Poetry - Tracey Seeden

Highlands Grove
Poster - April Gore
Poetry - Christian Walsted
Essay - Madison McDaniel

Jesse Keen
Poster - Lizeth Miranda

Kathleen
Poster - Danielle Hall
Poetry - Kori Love

Kingsford
Poster - Jaelee Lynn Bridgehan

Lincoln
Poster - Alana Jones
Poetry - Cody Dasher
Essay - Jackson Jeffares

McKeel Academy
Poster - Levi Combee and Emily Battle
Poetry - Adam Burse
Essay - Madison Smith

Medulla
Poster - Kara Stephenson
Poetry - Abbilene Fauteux
Essay - Leann Burge

N.E. Roberts
Poetry - Logan Gutierrez
Essay - Tyler Alderman

North Lakeland
Poster - Chi-Chi Nevarez
Poetry - Steven Little
Essay - Mahogani Palmore

Oscar J. Pope
Poster - Cassidy Boardman
Poetry - John Whittle
Essay - Michele Trejo

Padgett
Poster - Bradley Kuell
Poetry - Lorena Gomez
Essay - Kadija Abualteen

Purcell
Poster - Luisa Morin
Poetry - Jordyn Edgell
Essay - Elizabeth Kelly

R. Bruce Wagner
Poster - Didi Corbett

Rochelle School of the Arts
Poster - Aljeron Sanders
Poetry - Emily Reynolds
Essay - Jocelin McGrath

S.McKeel Academy
Poster - Sydney Rivera
Poetry - Ashley Lento
Essay - Brooke Drawdy

Scott Lake
Poster - Landon Press

Sleepy Hill
Poetry - Tanyia Hayes
Essay - Kailiyah Williams

Socrum
Poster - Autumn Jackson
Essay - Haley Burns

Southwest
Poster - Hannah Townley
Poetry - Nicole Castro

Spessard Holland
Poster - Tashelle Barrow
Poetry - Kelsey Rickey
Essay - Taylor Dye

St. Anthony
Poster - David Homuth
Poetry - Rysse McCleave

St. Joseph
Poster - Claire Gill
Poetry - Alexandria McCullum
Essay - Audrey Fisher

St. Paul
Poster - Jessalyn Ready
Poetry - Alee Judge
Essay - Devin Moore

Wendall Watson
Poster - Katie Harwell
Poetry - Nathan Lawwell
Essay - Ayeilie Mel

Lakeland Area Rallies Contest Overall Prize Winners

Poster Category:

1st Place - $100.00 - Levi Combee, McKeel Elementary Academy
2nd Place - $ 50.00 - Chi-Chi Nevarez, North Lakeland Elementary
3rd Place - $ 25.00 - Aljeron Sanders, Rochelle School of the Arts

Poetry Category:

1st Place - $100.00 - Ashley Lento, South McKeel Academy
2nd Place - $ 50.00 - Caitlin Wizda, Carlton Palmore
3rd Place - $ 25.00 - Adam Burse, McKeel Elementary Academy

Essay Category:

1st Place - $100.00 - Brooke Drawdy, South McKeel Academy
2nd Place - $ 50.00 - Madison Smith, McKeel Elementary Academy
3rd Place - $ 25.00 - Zack Nabinger, Blake Academy

School with the Most Contest Participants Overall – Highlands Grove

Friday, April 29, 2011

Rx Pill Drop Today & Tomorrow!


Bring your unwanted Human and Pet Medication to the second National Prescription Drug Take-Back being held at various locations throughout Lakeland and Polk County today, Friday, April 29th and tomorrow, Saturday, April 30th!

StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, and law enforcement agencies are hosting our community’s Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off at 11 locations in Hardee and Polk Counties listed below.

Medications should be kept in a clear, air-tight plastic bag.


Drop off locations TODAY - Friday, April 29 - 9AM to 1PM are:

Home Instead Senior Care – 601 South Florida Avenue, Lakeland, FL
Hawthorne Inn of Lakeland – 6150 Lakeland Highlands Road, Lakeland, FL

Drop-off locations TOMORROW - Saturday, April 30 - 9AM to 1PM are:

Auburndale Police Department – 2 Bobby Green Plaza, Auburndale, FL
City of Zolfo Springs Sheriff Substation – US 17 (Town Hall Bldg), Zolfo Springs, FL
Florida Dept. of Transportation – 801 N.Broadway Ave., Bartow, FL – Hosted by Bartow Police Dept.
Davenport Police Department – 17 Market Street, Davenport, FL
Haines City Police Department – 35400 Highway 27, Haines City, FL
Hardee County Sheriff’s Office – 900 East Summit Street, Wauchula, FL
Lake Alfred Police Department – 190 North Seminole Avenue, Lake Alfred, FL
Lake Wales Police Department – 133 East Tillman Avenue, Lake Wales, FL
Lakeland Police Department – 219 N. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL
Winter Haven Police Department – 125 North Lake Silver Drive NW, Winter Haven, FL
Wauchula Police Department - 128 South 7th Street, Wauchula, FL

Two countywide prescription medication collections held by StandUP Polk and its coalition and law enforcement partners in spring and fall 2010 resulted in an estimated 650 pounds of recovered pharmaceuticals that were safely disposed of via incineration.

For more information on the local Pill Drop event or locations, please contact StandUP Polk/InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off on April 30th


Here’s your opportunity to start spring cleaning right in your own medicine cabinet! On Saturday, April 30, 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration and its national and community partners will host the second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, and local law enforcement agencies in Hardee and Polk counties are proud to join in the DEA’s nationwide event and host our community’s Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off on April 30th at the 11 locations in Hardee and Polk Counties listed below. Citizens may turn in unused, expired, or unwanted Human and Pet Medications for safe and proper disposal. Medications should be kept in a clear, air-tight plastic bag.



Drop-off locations on Saturday, April 30th, from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM are:

Auburndale Police Department – 2 Bobby Green Plaza, Auburndale, FL
City of Zolfo Springs Sheriff Substation – US 17 (Town Hall Bldg), Zolfo Springs, FL
Florida Dept. of Transportation – 801 N.Broadway Ave., Bartow, FL – Hosted by Bartow Police Dept.
Davenport Police Department – 17 Market Street, Davenport, FL
Haines City Police Department – 35400 Highway 27, Haines City, FL
Hardee County Sheriff’s Office – 900 East Summit Street, Wauchula, FL
Lake Alfred Police Department – 190 North Seminole Avenue, Lake Alfred, FL
Lake Wales Police Department – 133 East Tillman Avenue, Lake Wales, FL
Lakeland Police Department – 219 N. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL
Winter Haven Police Department – 125 North Lake Silver Drive NW, Winter Haven, FL
Wauchula Police Department - 128 South 7th Street, Wauchula, FL


For those who are unable to make it to the Pill Drop Off on April 30th, Home Instead Senior Care is also partnering with StandUP Polk to host a drive-up Rx Drop Off on Friday April 29, 2011, from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM at two additional locations in Lakeland:

Home Instead Senior Care – 601 South Florida Avenue, Lakeland, FL
Hawthorne Inn of Lakeland – 6150 Lakeland Highlands Road, Lakeland, FL


Two countywide prescription medication collections held by StandUP Polk and its coalition and law enforcement partners in spring and fall 2010 resulted in an estimated 650 pounds of recovered pharmaceuticals. Medications were safely disposed of via incineration. The coalition partners plan to host future pill drop events and hope to establish a permanent pill drop off venue in the county soon to assist residents in proper disposal of unused prescription medications in an environmentally safe manner, and help decrease the availability of expired or unwanted medications to reduce prescription drugs abuse.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health, more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are growing at an alarming rate, especially among teens, who report finding painkillers, stimulants, depressants, and other medications to abuse right in their own family medicine cabinet. Preventing youth from gaining access to prescription and over-the-counter drugs is an important step to prevent and stop this epidemic.

For more information on the local Pill Drop event or locations, please contact StandUP Polk/InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Annual Fifth Grade Red Ribbon Rallies Coming Up In May


Nearly 6,000 fifth grade students in Polk County have been invited to participate in InnerAct Alliance’s 2011 Red Ribbon Rallies! Rallies in Lakeland are scheduled on Tuesday, May 3rd at 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM at The Lakeland Center. Fifth graders from Haines City and Winter Haven area schools will gather on Thursday, May 12th, at 10:00AM, at the Polk State College Gym in Winter Haven.

The anti-drug motivational rallies focus on reinforcing critical substance abuse resistance skills before students enter middle school in the fall. Nationally known speaker, Patrick T. Grady, community leaders, and radio personalities from WONN/WPCF/WLKF/WWRZ will address the students to encourage the choice of a positive, healthy lifestyle without the use of drugs.

Fifth graders have been challenged to compete in a special contest to create original essays, poems, and posters that convey topical anti-drug messages about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Contest participants will be recognized during the rallies and overall first place winners in each contest category will receive cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25.

Bath Salts - The New Danger Drug


While efforts to outlaw synthetic marijuana compounds found in herbal incense products such as K2 and Spice have garnered the spotlight lately, another dangerous drug has emerged causing even greater concern among health professionals – Bath Salts.

Florida and several other states have recently banned, or are considering banning, the sale of these packets of white powder sold in smoke shops and convenience stores under brand names like Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky, Zoom 2, Pixie Dust, Sextacy, Ocean Burst, Purple Rain, Hurricane Charlie, and many more.

Users of bath salts snort, inject, or smoke the powder, which acts as a stimulant to produce a cocaine and meth-like high. The stimulants in these products affect neurotransmitters in the brain, which can cause hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heartbeat, violent behavior, and suicidal thoughts.

Across the country, there have been an increasing number of reports from hospital emergency rooms and poison control centers about cases of exposure to the chemicals in bath salt powders, containing mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 291 calls in 2010 about people hospitalized after bath salt abuse. Reports of usage spiked up to 373 cases in the first month of 2011.

For more information or medical assistance after contact with bath salts, contact the FL Poison Information Center in Tampa at 1-800-222-1222.

Keeping Kids Safe: On Bikes & Off Drugs!

On Sunday morning, April 3rd, the fun place to be was the Kid’s Bike Race and Bicycle Rodeo at Central Park in Downtown Winter Haven. The event, held in conjunction with the Annual Chain of Lakes Cycling Classic, included a bike rodeo, free bicycle helmets and fittings, and bike safety.

In the photo, Lisa Jones, Coalition Coordinator for StandUP Polk/UthMpact/InnerAct Alliance, lines up participants for the Bike Rodeo. InnerAct Staff was also on hand to share drug prevention materials with parents and kids. Statistics show that the average age kids are offered a gateway drug is 11.5, yet most parents don’t talk to their kids about drugs until 11th grade.

Event sponsors were Safe Kids Florida Suncoast, All Children’s Hospital, Florida Dept. of Transportation, Cycling Classics, Inc., Tammy and Ronnie Edmiston, InnerAct Alliance, and StandUP Polk.

LPD Unveils Our Community's First "Be The Wall" Support Wall


InnerAct Alliance and StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, are proud to be working with a pro-active group of coalition members, which includes the Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Schools, Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Office of Drug Control, and many other local partners, in the innovative statewide Be the Wall social marketing campaign that encourages parents to be consistent and steadfast in discouraging underage drinking.

InnerAct staff and coalition members were on hand at the Lakeland Police Department’s Open House on March 19, 2011 to welcome our new police chief, Linda Womack, and share drug prevention materials with parents and kids. Statistics show that the average age kids are offered a gateway drug is 11.5, yet most parents don’t talk to their kids about drugs until 11th grade.

The Lakeland Police Department showed their enthusiastic support by unveiling a visible structure on which parents and influential adults could display cardboard bricks with their signed pledge to Be Clear, Be Firm, Be Consistent…Be The Wall when it comes to keeping alcohol out of the hands of teens. Special thanks to Florida Crime Prevention Practitioners, Anna Ricks (l) and Kim Freeman (r), pictured in the photo above/left standing beside Polk County’s first law enforcement agency support “wall” that they helped spearhead as partners in our community’s Be The Wall Campaign.

The Be The Wall campaign is designed on the premise that while alcohol may be the primary substance of choice for teens across the state and country, underage drinking should be the single most preventable at risk behavior among our teenagers. Recent scientific research shows the adolescent brain is still developing well into the mid-20s. The studies illustrate that teens are wired to take risks, which may help to explain why they are especially prone to rebellious and impulsive behavior.

Help us be the wall between teens and alcohol. Join thousands of Florida parents who have taken the pledge to keep alcohol out of the hands of our kids at www.bethewall.org. For tips on how to talk with your teen, please call StandUP Polk at (863) 802-0777.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NEW RESEARCH FINDINGS ON THE DEVELOPING TEEN BRAIN


Scientific studies indicate that the adolescent brain in both animals and humans undergoes substantial change and maturation into the mid-20s. Research on the developing teen brain offers important insight into the neurological foundation of adolescent behavior, which may help to explain why teens tend to be more impulsive and why rates of substance abuse and risky behavior are far greater for this age group than others.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a new study performed by researchers David Sturman and Bita Moghaddam at the University of Pittsburgh measured the activity of single cells in the brains of adult and adolescent rats to identify the neural roots of differences in brain function. The unique approach used in this work allowed scientists to watch how the adolescent brain responds to rewards resulting from behavior in real time.

The study, recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience entitled “Reduced neuronal inhibition and coordination of adolescent prefrontal cortex during motivated behavior,” showed that even when adult and adolescent rats behaved in exactly the same way in order to receive a food reward, the pattern of firing of single cells in their brains was different. Reduced inhibition of neuron activity shown in adolescents could suggest that they may respond more intensively than adults to reward. These more intense responses may help to explain the increased vulnerability of adolescents to the rewarding effects of alcohol and drugs.

Monitoring how the adolescent brain processes events differently than the adult brain offers a powerful way to understand the vulnerabilities of young people at this age. It further points up the necessity to develop ways to intervene early with teens.

To support parents, retailers, and community members in efforts to keep teens from drinking and using drugs, InnerAct Alliance and the StandUP Polk Coalition are partnering with the Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Schools, Florida Department of Children and Families, and many other local partners in an innovative statewide campaign called Be the Wall.

The Be The Wall campaign is designed on the premise that while alcohol may be the primary substance of choice for teens across the state and country, underage drinking should be the single most preventable at risk behavior among our teenagers. Together the StandUP Polk Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk partners encourage parents and influential adults to Be the Wall between teens and alcohol with firm, clear and consistent messages.

For additional information about the campaign, please call StandUP Polk at (863) 802-0777 and visit the interactive Be The Wall web site at www.bethewall.com to take the pledge to keep alcohol out of the hands of our teens.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Upcoming InnerAct Alliance Events 2011



UPCOMING INNERACT ALLIANCE AND
COALITION FOR A DRUG-FREE POLK EVENTS



Third Thursday of Each Month – Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk Monthly Meetings

StandUP Polk is a group of concerned citizens, law enforcement, community and business leaders working together to take a stand against drugs and bring about positive change for Polk County. All are welcome to attend meetings held on the 3rdThursday of each month at 9 AM at Family Fundamentals, 1021 Lakeland Hills Blvd., in Lakeland.

UthMpact is the coalition for teens by teens educating and empowering teens to make healthy decisions and take action against alcohol, tobacco and drug use. Join the UthMpact prevention effort and earn community service hours by volunteering. Meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 5:30 pm at Family Fundamentals, 1021 Lakeland Hills Blvd., in Lakeland. Visit our web site at www.UthMpact.com or find UthMpact Coalition on Facebook.

Sunday, April 3, 2011 – Safe Kids Walk and Roll 9 AM to 12 PM

Lots of family fun is planned at the 3rd Annual Safe Kids Walk & Roll on Sunday morning, April 3, 2011, held in conjunction with the Chain of Lakes Cycling Classic. Activities for all ages include a bike rodeo, safety walk, free bike helmets for all ages (while supplies last), prevention and safety information. Additional information will be announced soon by event sponsors Safe Kids Florida Suncoast, All Children’s Hospital, All Children’s Specialty Care of Lakeland, InnerAct Alliance and StandUP Polk.

Saturday, April 30, 2011 – Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off - 9 AM to 1 PM

StandUP Polk and its coalition partners are planning a Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off event on Saturday, April 30, 2011, in conjunction with the DEA’s National Take Back Initiative, for citizens to turn in unused, expired, or unwanted Human and Pet Medications for safe and proper disposal.

Medications should be secured in a clear sealed plastic bag, and may be brought to any of the following locations on April 30th for safe disposal:

Auburndale Police Department – 2 Bobby Green Plaza, Auburndale, FL
City of Zolfo Springs Sheriff Substation – US 17 (Town Hall Building), Zolfo Springs, FL
Florida Dept. of Transportation – 801 North Broadway, Bartow, FL – Hosted by Bartow P.D.
Davenport Police Department – 17 Market Street, Davenport, FL
Haines City Police Department – 35400 Highway 27, Haines City, FL
Hardee County Sheriff’s Office – 900 East Summit Street, Wauchula, FL
Lake Alfred Police Department – 190 North Seminole Avenue, Lake Alfred, FL
Lake Wales Police Department – 133 East Tillman Avenue, Lake Wales, FL
Lakeland Police Department – 219 N. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL
Winter Haven Police Department – 125 North Lake Silver Drive NW, Winter Haven, FL
Wauchula Police Department - 128 South 7th Street, Wauchula, FL

The coalition recognizes the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and planned this event for two very important reasons – to help Polk County residents properly dispose of old and unused prescription medications in an environmentally safe manner that will not be harmful to the aquifer or ground water, and to help reduce prescription drugs abuse by decreasing the availability of expired or unwanted medications. Previous pill collections held by the coalition last March and September in Polk County have resulted in nearly 650 pounds of medications safely disposed of via incineration.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 – Red Ribbon Fifth Grade Rallies

Nearly 6,000 fifth grade students will be invited by InnerAct Alliance to attend Red Ribbon Rallies in May to encourage the choice of a positive lifestyle without the use of drugs. Events will take place on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at The Lakeland Center and at the Polk State College Gym in Winter Haven on a future date to be decided.

The anti-drug rallies focus on reinforcing critical substance abuse resistance skills before students enter middle school in the fall. Guest speaker and community leaders will encourage the choice of a positive, healthy lifestyle without the use of drugs. As part of the Rally programs, fifth grade students will be challenged to create original essays, poems, and posters that convey topical messages about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Contest winners will be recognized during the rallies with cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 awarded to overall first place winners in each contest category.

For more information, please call (863) 802-0777