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: or

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

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