Thursday, July 17, 2014

StandUP Polk & UthMpact Coalition Members to Take Part in National Substance Abuse Prevention Conference in Orlando, FL


StandUP Polk & UthMpact Coalition Members to Take Part
in National Substance Abuse Prevention Conference in Orlando, FL 

Polk County, FL – Members of the StandUP Polk and UthMpact Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk will join more than 1,700 substance abuse prevention specialists from across the country at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) Mid-Year Training Institute at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Hotel in Orlando, FL from July 20-24, 2014.

CADCA’s Mid-Year Training Institute is a one-of-a-kind, intensive week-long training opportunity, offering more than 70 half-day and two-day courses geared towards helping participants find solutions to their community’s toughest substance abuse problems. Attendees will participate in a variety of lectures and hands-on sessions to expand their knowledge in prevention science and improve their skills in implementing evidence-based strategies to reduce drug and alcohol use. This year’s Mid-Year will feature a number of renowned experts in the field of substance abuse prevention, including Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy, and Kana Enomoto, Deputy Principal Administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“We are fortunate to be able to spend a week with similar organizations from across the country, learning and honing our skills so we can more effectively prevent drug and alcohol abuse,” 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. “We hope to return reenergized with new strategies to tackle drug use and its associated problems in Polk County.”

CADCA’s Mid-Year will cover a wide range of topics – everything from how to prevent prescription drug abuse and the abuse of synthetic drugs to how to create tobacco-free environments, reduce impaired driving, and develop policies to reduce marijuana use and underage drinking.

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 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 Juli Davis, StandUP Polk Coalition Coordinator at 863-802-0777, or via e-mail at:

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.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Save The Date - 5th Annual Drug Summit on September 9, 2014

5th  Annual  Drug Summit

Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot

with the assistance of the

Florida Sheriffs Association and Save Our Societies

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

7:30 AM to 5:00 PM

Registration Fee

The Lake Eva Banquet Hall
799 Johns Ave., Haines City, FL

For Information Please Call
StandUP Polk  (863) 802-0777
Hardee County ASAPP (863) 767-0401 
                        Drug Free Highlands  (863) 382-2138                           

UthMpact Is Proud to Announce Its 2014-2015 Leadership Class IV

UthMpact Is Proud to Announce Its 2014-2015 Leadership Class IV

A new group of student leaders has been selected to participate in the 2014-2015 UthMpact Leadership Class IV.  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. 

Congratulations to UthMpact Cabinet members: Noelle Woods, President; Rene Respicio, Co- Junior President; Isabella Basalone, Co- Junior President; Mackenzie Eliasen, Vice Chair; Emi Davis, Junior Vice Chair; Michaela Sawyer, Co-Secretary; Anthony Seay, Jr., Member at Large; Neel Shah, Member at Large; Kobe Jones, Historian; Kavi Saxena, Member at Large; William Sutton, Member at Large; and Mallory Odom, Sgt. At Arms. 

Congrats also to the rest of the UthMpact Leadership Class IV members:  Derek Agar; Coral Barron; Brooke Benton; Shirnest Brunson; Alexie Cadena; Will Cain; Raven Calloway; Julia Canady; Katherine Carlton; Emma Carter; Danielle Clark; Adriana Colon; Jared Cossin; Catherine Curran; Emily Dunson;  Madison Feddeler; Justin Gill; Lindsay Gilian; Grace Hamilton; Ethan Jackson; Kaitlyn LaRose; Alyssa Lewis; Alexis Mace; Jobe McDermott; Hadley Owen; Karishma Patel, Noemi Rosario; Emily Rozen; Sierra Rowland; Racquall Salerno; Julio Santana, Tirthan Shah; James Shiver; Daniel Sussingham;  Logan Watkins; Kenyetta West;  and Thomas Wyatt.

Activities for this busy group of teens are already underway with a June meeting to inform members and their parents about the exciting events planned over the coming year. Next on the agenda, the Class IV leadership cabinet members will attend the mid-year CADCA Conference (Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America) from July 21-25 to experience a dynamic training designed to equip the teen leaders with essential knowledge and skills needed to impact their fellow members, peers, and community in the year ahead.

August will kick off with an action-packed two day UthMpact Retreat where members will reinforce leadership and team building skills taught by nationally known guest speaker, Patrick Grady.  During the month, there will also be an Etiquette Dinner at the Terrace Hotel. These events present a wonderful opportunity for the group to have fun, work, and bond together.

Beginning in September, the new youth leaders will travel throughout the county once a month to experience the inner workings of local business, government, healthcare, education, and law enforcement. They 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. Student participants were nominated by high school principals and community members. Coalition goals 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 information, please contact Kenya Lott or Emily Plank at (863) 802-0777. Find UthMpact on Facebook at: and Twitter at:

Polk County’s Only Half Marathon, 5K & Kids Fun Run on Saturday, November 8, 2014


Polk County’s Only Half Marathon, 5K & Kids Fun Run on Saturday, November 8, 2014

Join us at the start line for Polk County’s Only Half Marathon, 5K & Kids Fun Run on Saturday morning, November 8, 2014 around picturesque Lake Mirror and Lakeland’s beautiful downtown and Lake to Lake area. We greatly appreciate our generous event partners: Title Sponsor, Publix Super Markets, Inc., 5K Sponsor Badcock Home Furniture & More, and Kids Run Sponsor MIDFlorida Credit Union.

The inaugural event in 2013 enjoyed tremendous success with nearly 900 registered half marathon runners, 1500 student runners, 600 volunteers, and countless community spectators. 

A fantastic 5K has been added to make the 2014 Red Ribbon Family Weekend even more fun!  Parents can compete in the Half Marathon and 5K, while children can take part in the FREE Kids Run around Lake Mirror. Kindergarten through 2nd grade students will run a half-mile course, and 3rd-5th graders will run one mile. All K-5 students receive free registration and a Run t-shirt, along with refreshments!

Register today to get the best prices for the Red Ribbon Half Marathon and 5K…prices increase as the event draws closer, so it’s best not to delay!

Information & Registration

K-5 Students must also register (at no cost) at

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Awesome sponsorship opportunities are now available for Business and Community Organizations to join us at the starting line for this exciting event.

Please call InnerAct Alliance at 802-0777 and we will be happy to mail you a Red Ribbon Run Series Sponsorship Brochure. See you at the Run!!

Focus on the Positive! - OWN THE UPSIDE

Focus on the Positive! - OWN THE UPSIDE

If you have had an opportunity to read a newspaper, listen to the radio, or watch TV during the month of June, odds are you have probably seen or heard Own The Upside ads spreading the GOOD NEWS that most Polk County teens do not engage in drug use or risky behaviors!

Own the Upside is a positive community marketing campaign presented by the StandUP Polk, Hardee ASAAP, and Drug Free Highlands Coalitions and their partners to address concerns of parents regarding teen risky behavior. Funding for the June Own The Upside ad campaign was provided by a state grant.

Unfortunately, we have become accustomed to believing only the discouraging news or negatives that are seen and heard in our culture, the media, and popular music lyrics.  Often, we forget there are some encouraging positives to celebrate the UPside of Polk!

Statistics show that our local prevention programs are effective in shaping attitudes about and user rates of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Attitudes about abuse are shaped well before children reach adulthood. We can continue to impact our children’s future now by continuing prevention programs and services that reduce access, identify risky behaviors, change community attitudes toward ATOD use, and empower youth to make positive healthy choices.

Let’s focus on rewarding positive behaviors that will continue to inspire our local youth to make smart and healthy decisions!  Here are some positive facts to know and share with teens and others in our community.

75% of Teens in Polk County (grades 6-12) DO NOT use Alcohol.
88% of Teens in Polk County (grades 6-12) DO NOT use Marijuana.
93% of Teens in Polk County (grades 6-12) DO NOT use Tobacco.
97% of Teens in Polk County (grades 6-12) DO NOT use Prescription Drugs.
Please do your part to “Own the Upside”! Be the best role model possible and support your kids in making smart choices. Teach them it is okay to be who they are, present them with healthy activities, and encourage them to hang out with friends that they trust. The Own the Upside speakers’ bureau is available to speak to civic groups, church groups, employees, Parent/Teacher Associations, and other organizations. Please contact Juli Davis at (863) 802-0777.