Tuesday, February 28, 2012

UthMpact Education Leadership Day - January 25, 2012

On January 25, 2012, a group of 28 high school participants in the UthMpact Leadership Program had the unique opportunity to spend an informative day with key education personnel and representatives of local colleges and universities. The following summary of the day’s activities was written by participant, Tori Ellison, a senior at Lakeland High School:

We began the day at the Polk County School Board offices in Bartow where speakers from different departments met with us to provide a background of their particular jobs and how they affects us as students. One of the most interesting speakers was Hazel Sellers, who is not only a Polk School Board Member, but she also serves as secretary and board member of our parent agency, InnerAct Alliance. The UthMpact members enjoyed talking with her about various subjects, including school uniforms. Later, we toured the campus at Southeastern University and our group met with representatives from Polk State College, Southeastern University, Warner University, and Florida Southern College to discuss the course offerings at their respective schools and how they might correlate with our future educational plans. All of the students and faculty we met with were very welcoming and cast their school in a positive light. This was a very interesting day because the information directly affects us as high school students, about to enter college.

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

Applications are currently being accepted for Class II of the Leadership Program. If teens are interested in applying, they should contact their school principal or Veronica Awai, UthMpact Coalition Coordinator, at (863) 802-0777, or by e-mail at: veronica@uthmpact.com. You may also find UthMpact on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UthMpact.

Friday, February 24, 2012

StandUP Polk & UthMpact Coalition Coordinators Honored at National Substance Abuse Prevention Conference in Washington, D.C.

Members of the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk traveled to Washington, D.C. to join 2,700 substance abuse prevention specialists at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s 22nd Annual National Leadership Forum on February 6-9, 2012. The StandUP Polk and UthMpact Coalitions were among 150 coalitions that participated in a graduation ceremony for community anti-drug coalitions.

Congratulations to Polk coalition representatives Lisa A. Jones of StandUP Polk, and Veronica Awai of UthMpact, on their successful completion of CADCA’s National Coalition Academy, a comprehensive year-long training program, which incorporates three week-long classroom sessions, a web-based distance learning component, an online workstation where participants network and share planning products and free ongoing technical assistance. To graduate, coalitions must participate in all components of the NCA Academy and complete five essential planning products that serve as the foundation of their comprehensive plan for community change.

Besides the opportunity to learn the latest strategies to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, the coalition also had the opportunity to meet with Abby Tinsley, Legislative Correspondent for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson; Hampton Ray, Legislative Correspondent for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio; and Congressman Dennis A. Ross, during Capitol Hill Day to discuss the coalitions’ local activities and programs. (photos appear on page 2 of this release)

“We are so proud of our coalition for completing this outstanding community coalition training. To graduate from this year-long course is no small task, and StandUP Polk and UthMpact are more prepared today to be effective, sustainable coalitions because of this training,” said Angie Ellison, executive director of InnerAct Alliance, the agency that serves as the fiscal agent for the StandUP Polk (adult-based) and UthMpact (youth-based) Coalitions for a Drug-Free Polk.

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. UthMpact is the dynamic youth coalition of teen leaders committed to helping educate and deliver key substance abuse prevention messages to teens by their peers. This energetic group has developed anti-tobacco, underage drinking, and other social norming campaigns currently being piloted in Polk County middle and high schools. For more information about the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, please contact Lisa A. Jones or Veronica Awai at 863-802-0777, or via e-mail at: lisa.jones@inneractalliance.org or veronica@uthmpact.com

CADCA is the national membership organization representing more than 5,000 coalitions and affiliates working to make America’s communities safe, healthy and drug-free. Its mission is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions by providing technical assistance and training, public policy advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, conferences, and special events. For information about CADCA’s National Leadership Forum, visit http://forum.cadca.org/.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off - Saturday, April 28th

StandUP Polk and local law enforcement agencies are proud to join The Drug Enforcement Administration and its national and community partners for the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 9:00 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 Spring Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off will include 8 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 April 28th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm are:

Auburndale Police Department – 2 Bobby Green Plaza, Auburndale, FL
Davenport Police Department – 17 Market Street, Davenport, FL
FDOT – 801 North Broadway Ave., Bartow, FL – Hosted by Bartow Police Dept.
Haines City Police Department – 35400 Highway 27, Haines City, 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

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.