Monday, April 30, 2012


Nearly 6,000 fifth grade students have been 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 May 2 at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at The Lakeland Center, and on May 9 at 10:00 a.m. at the Polk State College Gym in Winter Haven.

The anti-drug rallies focus on reinforcing critical substance abuse resistance skills before students enter middle school in the fall. Guest speaker will be 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.

Fifth grade students have been 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.

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 have provided substance abuse prevention to the Hardee, Highlands and Polk County communities since 1985 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 2 and 9, please call InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2011-2012 UthMpact Leadership Program Graduation

UthMpact will hold its graduation for the First Class of High School Student Leaders who have successfully completed the 2011-2012 UthMpact Leadership Program on Wednesday, April 25, 2012, from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm at the Jim Miles Professional Development Building in Lakeland.

Congratulations to the following UthMpact Leaders: Arianna Strozier, Susan Murphy Stidham, Jessica Pena, Victoria Villanti, Richard Anderson, Rachel Martin, Jessica Killingsworth, Amanda Schell, Eugene Kim, Thazin Latt, Adrielle Conner, Taylor Jones, Tait Jones, Erica Schaaf, Kendra Wilson, Jessica Emerson, Michael Nardelli, Cody Gill, Savanna Collins, Abigail Nesbeth, Patrick Mims, Tori Ellison, Tashana Hazelwood, Seth Stone, Taylor Kowalske, and Alan Roberts.

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 student participants were all nominated by their high school principals. Teens had the unique opportunity to travel throughout the county, meet with community leaders, and experience the inner workings of local government, healthcare, education, and law enforcement.

The formation of Class II of the Leadership Program is underway. For additional information, please contact Veronica Awai, UthMpact Coalition Coordinator, at (863) 802-0777, or by e-mail at: Find UthMpact on Facebook at

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

UthMpact Business & Industry Leadership Day - March 28, 2012

The UthMpact Student Leaders participated in Business & Industry Leadership Day on March 28, 2012, and had an opportunity to visit six different businesses during a full and action-packed day.

On our first stop, we visited MidFlorida Credit Union, where Community Relations Coordinator, Jeanette Wallace, arranged for a behind the scenes tour of the branch for us and we learned about technology the bank uses to count and separate coins and check for counterfeit money.

After stops at Blue Sky Incubator and Cypher, we ate lunch at Publix training and office center and toured the dairy plant, where we were able to taste some of the delicious ice cream made there! Our next stop was a great tour at The Ledger newspaper, before moving on to WellDyne, where we observed the inner workings of the pharmacy and call center and saw robot machines that fill prescription bottles in about 12 seconds.

The day ended at the Central Florida Aerospace Academy at the Lakeland Airport, where we met with one of the flight instructors and toured the facility.

(Recap written by UthMpact members Tait Jones, a junior at Lake Gibson High School, and Eugene Kim, a junior at Bartow IB)

UthMpact Government Leadership Day – February 22, 2012

The student leaders in the 2011-2012 UthMpact program participated in Government Leadership Day on February 22, 2012 at Bartow County Courthouse. Four judges met with the group to discuss the important aspects of law and court workings. We also had the opportunity to visit the jail cells underneath the court house and the infamous tunnel.

Afterwards, we had a delicious pizza lunch, followed by a meeting with Drug Court and an interesting discussion about the various ways people try to fake a urine sample. The head of security showed us various weapons that were taken into the courthouse.

After our day at the courthouse, we discussed important matters with the Board of County Commissioners, and ended the day with a fun improvisation pretending we were commissioners hosting a PGTV television show.

(Recap written by UthMpact members Tori Ellison, a senior at Lakeland High School, and Rachel Martin, a senior at Harrison School of the Arts)

Polk County Town Hall Meeting - April 19, 2012

Members of StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, are proud to present an Informative Polk County Town Hall Meeting on Thursday morning, April 19, 2012, at the Fun Town 4D Theater at LEGOLAND Florida in Winter Haven to discuss trends and give input on prevention needs in our community.

The Town Hall Meeting is open to the public and free to the first 200 registrants. Registration and a light breakfast will take place from 7:30 AM to 8:00 AM, with the program scheduled from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM. Admission to LEGOLAND Florida theme park is not included with this event.

Guest speaker will be Paul Doering, M.S., a Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice Emeritus at the University of Florida, College of Pharmacy. Doering has been recognized four times as Teacher of the Year, and he guest lectures in a variety of team taught courses in the College of Pharmacy and other Health Professions Colleges. In addition, he teaches a course for pharmacy students focusing on “street drugs” and their adverse effects, and frequently speaks to middle, high school, and college students on the subject of drug prevention.

Advance registration is required by calling StandUP Polk at (863) 802-0777 by April 16, 2012.