Thursday, August 30, 2012

InnerAct Alliance Awarded Drug Free Communities Continuation Grant to Prevent Youth Substance Abuse

InnerAct Alliance is the proud recipient of a Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFC) Continuation Grant awarded this month by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grant provides community coalitions needed support to facilitate citizen participation in local efforts to prevent and reduce youth substance abuse.
InnerAct Alliance, formerly the Drug Prevention Resource Center, has worked diligently since 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 serves as the fiscal agent for the StandUP Polk (adult-based) and UthMpact (youth-based) Coalitions for a Drug-Free Polk to help educate about the dangers of substance abuse and bring about positive changes for Polk County.

To continue to be eligible for this grant funding, StandUP Polk and InnerAct Alliance have been tasked with working together on youth prevention initiatives for reducing prescription drug abuse and underage drinking with representation from 12 sectors of the community.

“Our efforts to keep youth substance-free are critical to creating and maintaining a healthy and safe community here in Polk County,” said Angie Ellison, executive director. “We are honored to have been awarded a DFC Continuation Grant to allow our Coalition and its partners to continue the important work that began with the initial grant in 2010, and remain focused on accomplishing our community’s long-term plan to reduce youth substance abuse!”

Some of the on-going successful coalition partnership projects supported by DFC grant funding over the past 2 years include the UthMpact Leadership Program (created in 2011); Annual Community Drug Summits (2010-2012); twice-yearly county-wide Purge Your Pills Rx Drop off events; increased capacity within both the StandUP Polk (adult) and UthMpact (youth) coalitions; increased collaboration between Hardee, Highlands, and Polk county coalition efforts that has resulted in the creation of an exciting new tri-county coalition slogo, and hiring of additional staff. The continuation grant will enable the Coalition partners to continue the important work that needs to be accomplished on our community’s long-term plan to reduce youth substance abuse.

Upcoming coalition events this fall include the 3rd Annual Drug Summit on September 27, 2012, from 8 am to 4 pm, at the Stuart Center on U.S. 17 in Bartow, and the DEA Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off on September 29, 2012, from 10 am to 2 pm, at the Auburndale, Haines City, Lake Alfred, Lake Wales, Lakeland, and Winter Haven police department locations.

For additional information on StandUP Polk, UthMpact, and InnerAct Alliance’s prevention programs and services in the local community, please contact InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

UthMpact Leadership Class II

Students from various Polk County high schools have been nominated by their school principals to participate in the UthMpact Leadership Class II for 2012-2013. This unique program, spearheaded by InnerAct Alliance, StandUP Polk Coalition, UthMpact Coalition, and key business partners, is designed to help teens develop crucial leadership skills.

On July 31 – August 1, 2012, a group of 35 teens representing 16 different Polk County high schools took part in a Leadership Retreat, held at the Mainsail Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Tampa, FL, to kick-off the program. The action packed agenda included DiSC personality tests and fun team building 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.” Recent graduates of the 2011-2012 UthMpact Leadership Class were also on hand to assist with leading group activities and presentations.

Once a month, beginning in September, these new youth leaders will travel throughout the county to experience the inner workings of local government, healthcare, education, and law enforcement. The group will meet with community leaders to discuss challenges faced in the community and suggest proactive solutions.

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, or find UthMpact on Facebook.

UthMpact Leadership Class II Participants

Abraham Shannon - grade 11 - Bartow High School
Allen Demisha - grade 12 - Tenoroc High School
Benton Scott - grade 12 - Lakeland Christian
Chantharaisnh Jennifer - grade 11 - Tenoroc High School
Claussen Ryan - grade12 - Lakeland Christian
Crighton Alexus - grade12 - Lakeland Collegiate
Davis Coni - grade 11 - McKeel Academy
Everett Emily - grade 9 - IB Bartow
Fitzhugh Hannah - grade 11 - IB Bartow
Fredrick Rachel - grade 12 - Lake Gibson High School
Friedman Cayman - grade 12 - Lake Gibson High School
Henderson Mercedes - grade10 - Lakeland High School
Houston Destiny - grade 12 - Lake Gibson High School
Johnson Crimson - grade11 - George Jenkins High School
Jones Chandler - grade 11 - George Jenkins High School
Lopez Kritzia - grade 10 - Mulberry Senior High School
May Walker - grade10 - George Jenkins High School
McKinnish Jayme - grade 11 - Bartow High School
McKown Taylor - grade 12 - Auburndale High School
Muller Lucy - grade 11 - George Jenkins High School
Murray Orlando - grade12 - Lakeland Collegiate
Noris Delaney - grade 10 - Harrison School for the Arts
Odom Mallori - grade 10 - Lakeland High School
Pena Richard - grade 12 - Auburndale High School
Pincket Harrison - grade 12 - IB Bartow
Ramos Wildaly - grade 12 - Mulberry Senior High School
Reynolds Ashley - grade 12 - Winter Haven High School
Riley Davi'on - grade 11 - Lake Wales High School
Rivera Samuel - grade 12 - Haines City High School
Shipley Stephen - grade 11 - Kathleen High School
Sottilaro Nicole - grade 12 - Haines City High School
Sutton Sara Jayne - grade12 - Harrison School for the Arts
Villanueva Alex - grade12 - Winter Haven High School
Weathersby Samantha - grade 11 - Lake Wales High School
You Cody - grade 12 - Harrison School for the Arts