Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Family-Friendly Summer Activities

Family-Friendly Summer Activities
suggested by our friends at Informed Families

Summer is finally here! We're all ready for a much needed break from homeschooling and looking forward to some fun. However, a less structured day and minimal supervision can spell trouble for some kids and teens.

Spending time together as a family is a great time to build healthy relationships. When you're enjoying activities with your kids, use it as an opportunity to talk and really listen to one another. The earlier you start connecting with your kids, the better. If your kids aren't used to talking to you about what's going on in their lives when they are 8 or 10 years old, it's harder to get them talking when they are 12-14 years old.

Check out the list of family-friendly summer activities below that are not only fun but also healthy and safe!

  • Do a puzzle – create a cozy puzzle corner so you can complete complex puzzles over time
  • Watch a documentary – Netflix and Disney+ has some great ones
  • Write a story or play – get those creative juices flowing
  • Listen to a podcast – check out NPR’s Wow in the World
  • Build with Legos or blocks – an all-time favorite for younger kids
  • Take a walk – hit the beach or a nature trail
  • Do yoga – Cosmic Kids Yoga combines yoga, mindfulness and storytelling
  • Have a dance party - take turns being the DJ!
  • Bike riding – have your kids map out the route beforehand
  • Play charades – everyone can join in the fun
  • Pray – pray through words, art or song
  • Listen to music or sing – share some of your favorites with your children, and listen to some of theirs
  • Write in a journal – a great activity for reflection & goal setting
  • Meditate – everyone benefits from taking time out each day to "unplugged", relax, and focus.
  • Create a gratitude or vision board – hang the completed masterpiece up where it can be seen everyday
  • Wash the family car – kids love to help out
  • Draw murals outside with colored chalk – the driveway or sidewalk is your canvas
  • Garden – start an herb or vegetable planter
  • Go through toys, clothes and books – decide what you can donate
  • Volunteer – help your kids develop empathy & compassion for others
  • Play board games – so many great ones to choose from
  • Cook dinner together – the Food Network has tons of kid-friendly recipes
  • Watch a movie – perfect for a family night in
  • Have a picnic – this can be as easy as spreading a blanket down in your backyard
  • Tell stories about old memories – a great way to create new memories too
Happy 4th of July - Have a Safe Summer!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Red Ribbon 2020 - A Hopeful Look Ahead!

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused InnerAct Alliance’s board of directors and staff to doubt the wisdom of holding our usual Fall programs and events that are attended annually by large groups of people, including children and their families. Safety is our main priority. While no one knows for certain what the months ahead will bring, we are beginning to plan some special activities and events that may take on a different look for 2020 as we attempt to follow safe social distancing practices.

Here’s a preview of what’s ahead:

With the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus and the challenges associated with hosting a large community event within social distancing guidelines, the InnerAct Alliance board of directors and staff have made a difficult decision that the Red Ribbon Run cannot be planned in its traditional format this year.

Exciting plans are underway to create a new Red Ribbon Virtual Race and Challenge which will begin on September 28, 2020 with Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children and continue through the month of October. The Red Ribbon Race and Challenge will present "prevention challenges" for students and adults to achieve milestones in an Olympic-themed virtual race offering bronze, silver, and gold levels for participants to earn medals and prizes! Completed challenges will be represented as milestones along a virtual path. 

Details for registration and weekly themed prevention challenges will be announced soon. Challenge themes may include: Nutrition, Healthy Body-Healthy Mind, Kindness, Anti-Bullying and Tolerance, Push-ups/Sit-ups, Run/Bike/Hike a Mile activities, etc. 

We hope you will join us for a new, different, and fun Red Ribbon event!

2020: A Year Like No Other!

We can probably all agree that it’s been one heck of a crazy year! 2020 began in the usual way - going to work, learning at school, playing sports, attending events, enjoying restaurants and movies, and hanging out with friends. Then suddenly in mid-March, along came the COVID-19 pandemic and our everyday lives came to a screeching halt as we were forced to adjust to a “new normal” to keep safe. Suddenly, we were staying home, social distancing, wearing a face mask, washing our hands more often, and experiencing life virtually rather than in person!

This has not been an easy time for anyone. No one wants to be apart from friends and family members and we miss interacting with each other. And, with school closings and many other closures and cancellations, we have missed out on celebrating special events such as prom, graduation, sports seasons, weddings, parties, vacation trips, etc.

As Summer begins, we are beginning to see hopeful signs that spread of the Coronavirus has lessened with fewer people becoming seriously ill. Hopefully, we can start to enjoy a return to normal with workplaces, restaurants, beaches, and theme parks reopening with safety precautions in place. Scientists are still studying COVID-19, so it’s important that we continue to keep safety in mind and social distance because there is no vaccine yet to help us become immune to this quick-spreading virus.

We want to stay connected while social distancing so we can continue to give and receive support from one another. InnerAct Alliance is committed to staying in touch with our amazing students, supportive business and prevention partners, families, and community. We are planning our Fall activities and events within safe social distancing guidelines and we look forward to celebrating the Annual Red Ribbon Campaign during October, teaching prevention education classes to students, and providing a great learning experience for our UthMpact Leadership Class X teen leaders – albeit in an alternate way. Be safe and stay well!

Monday, May 11, 2020

SAMHSA's National Prevention Week May 10-16, 2020


InnerAct Alliance is honored to partner with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to celebrate National Prevention Week (NPW) from May 10-16, 2020, an annual health observance to increase public awareness and action for substance abuse prevention and promote positive mental health. NPW is organized around some of the following theme days with resources and activities to focus attention on substances that threaten the health of our communities:

Monday: Preventing Prescription Drug & Opioid Misuse

Tuesday: Preventing Underage Drinking & Alcohol Misuse

 Wednesday: Preventing Illicit Drug Use & Youth Marijuana Use

Thursday: Preventing Youth Tobacco Use (E-cigarettes & Vaping)

 Friday: Preventing Suicide

With families spending more time at home to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, this is an opportune time for parents to engage in meaningful discussion with their children to share fact-based information about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Knowledge can help youngsters to make informed decisions and help families stay healthy and substance-free.  

For more great information and resources, please visit the Drug Free America Foundation website at or SAMHSA at  

Friday, May 1, 2020

Risks of Smoking & How It Relates to COVID-19

Thanks to our friends at Tobacco Free Florida and the Florida Health Department for sharing this important and very timely information....another great reason to quit smoking now or better yet, NEVER START!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Tips to Stay Sane While Self Quarantined During COVID-19

Flavored E-Cigarettes Hiding in Plain Sight

Flavored E-Cigarettes Hiding in Plain Sight

Youth e-cigarette use has become an epidemic in our country. Adults play an important role in protecting youth from these harmful items.

You can help by educating yourself, dispelling myths among friends and family, and talking to your kids about the serious health risks associated with vaping and nicotine addiction.

Check out these great resources from our Friends at Tobacco Free Polk regarding vaping and our youth: 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Help is Available: Crisis Resources and Hotlines

You are NOT Alone - Help is Available
Crisis Resources and Hotlines

A message from National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health:

Friends and Colleagues,

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is placing additional stress on everyone, including parents, youth and children. To help anyone who experiences a crisis, we created a new resource page that lists free, national hotlines and helplines to address the areas of need listed below. 

• Mental Health Treatment and Support
• Crisis and Suicide Risk
• Substance Use
• Child Abuse or Neglect
• Domestic/Family Violence
• Access to Food
• Parenting

We hope you will find these resources helpful in your efforts to remain safe and healthy and to provide support to others.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Make Sure You're Counted! Fill Out the U.S. Census!

Friendly Reminder:
Complete Your U.S. Census 2020

What matters to you: Schools? Transportation? Hospitals? Data from the U.S. Census Bureau will help inform planning efforts for all these important community resources.

Make sure you're counted by filling out the U.S. Census 2020. An accurate count means that communities across the nation will receive the funding, services, and business support they deserve and need.

About 143 million households received an invitation in the mail to respond to the 2020 Census but it's even quicker and easier to fill out the Census online. The process is QUICK, EASY and SECURE!

To learn what to expect and fill out your 2020 Census, visit

Monday, March 30, 2020

Family Fun Prevention Activities for National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

Family Fun Prevention Activities for
National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

March 30-April 5, 2020

The week of March 30-April 5, 2020 is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, a week devoted to empowering teens with resources so they can SHATTER THE MYTHS about drugs and alcohol. 

Here's a list of Fun Activities for Families to do together:

To learn more about science-based information on teen drug use and its effects, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA) website at:

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Take Part in National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week: March 30 – April 5, 2020

InnerAct Alliance is partnering with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to celebrate National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week from March 30 to April 5, 2020 and connect students with science-based resources to SHATTER THE MYTHS about drugs and alcohol.

With families spending more time at home to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, this is an opportune time for parents to engage in meaningful discussion with their children to share fact-based information about drugs and alcohol. Knowledge can help teens make informed decisions and help families stay healthy and substance-free.  

According to the 2019 Monitoring the Future Survey, which annually tracks substance abuse outcomes among U.S. adolescents:

Marijuana continues to be the most used illicit drug by adolescents

1-in-4 12th graders reported vaping nicotine in the past month, along with 1-in-5 10th graders, and nearly 1-in-10 8th graders

Many teens say they vape for the flavor, to experiment, for social reasons, or to feel good

From 2018-2019, the number of 12th graders saying they vape because they are “hooked” more than doubled to 8.1%, up from 3.6%

Our agency's youth coalition, UthMpact, has compiled the following "UthMpact Facts" to share the reality that most Polk County teens are making the right choices by choosing not to drink, smoke, or use substances. This can help students avoid succumbing to peer pressure because they feel more confident to make informed personal decisions after knowing and considering all the facts.

87% of Polk County students DO NOT use marijuana
96% of Polk County students DO NOT use tobacco
98% of Polk County students DO NOT ABUSE prescription drugs
88% of Polk County students DO NOT use e-cigs or vape
84% of Polk County students DO NOT use alcohol

Please visit the NIDA for Teens website at for more information and free science-based resources and activities to help teens learn the real facts about the effects of various drugs on the brain and their body. We hope you stay safe & healthy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Project Prom Update: Shopping Days on March 21 and April 4 Postponed

In light of the state of affairs and health concerns surrounding spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), InnerAct Alliance and UthMpact have decided to POSTPONE the remaining Project Prom Shopping Days on Saturdays, March 21 and April 4. 

We hope that everyone will understand that this precautionary action has been taken to ensure that our customers, staff, and volunteers remain safe during this challenging time.

Thank you and please stay safe and healthy! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

2020 Project Prom Shopping Days

The exciting countdown to Prom has begun but unfortunately for some teens the expense could make attending prom out of reach. InnerAct Alliance and youth coalition, UthMpact, are proud to present the 8th year of the Project Prom effort to provide formal wear and accessories to deserving high school students and educate youth and parents in our community about the risky behaviors that may occur during prom and graduation time. Students with a Polk County School ID can sign a Project Prom Pledge to celebrate being drug-free and receive dresses and suits for FREE!

Project Prom Student Shopping Days are underway at the Project Prom Store, located in the Lakeland Square Mall, 3800 U.S. Highway 98 North in Lakeland (old Sears wing). A Grand Opening took place on February 29 with a ribbon cutting by Lakeland City Commissioner, Philip Walker, and 50 students celebrated with complimentary prom attire. A Project Prom pop-up shop was also held on February 15 at the Auburndale Methodist Church where 20 students received free prom attire. This was a new addition to reach out to students and families from outlying areas of our community who may have transportation challenges travelling to the store in Lakeland.

Additional shopping days at the Project Prom Store will take place on Saturday, March 14, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, March 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 pm., and Saturday, April 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 pm.

Community members may support this effort by donating gently used dresses, shoes, men’s suits, ties, and other accessories. Formal wear donations may be dropped off on the shopping dates at the Project Prom Store or at the InnerAct Alliance office on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. UthMpact’s goal is promote a fun and safe Prom Night. For more information, please contact Samantha Barwig, UthMpact Coordinator, at (863) 802-0777.