Wednesday, March 31, 2021

UthMpact Leadership Class X On The Move!


UthMpact Leadership Class X on the Move!

UthMpact Leadership is a unique program, spearheaded by InnerAct Alliance, StandUP Polk, UthMpact, business and community partners, to help teens develop crucial leadership skills. After being off the road during the first part of 2021,  members of UthMpact Leadership Class X hit the ground running to enjoy a busy March Leadership Career Day, incorporating safe social distance protocols of course! 

The teens started their day learning what soft skills are and how to utilize these skills when it comes to preparing for a job or college interview. The group visited Lone Palm where they met with Brian West, Community Relations Manager/Southwest Florida for Publix Super Markets, Inc. Mr. West shared some of the characteristics that he looks for in a potential employee and provided insights about job preparedness and needed skills. During lunch, the students received firsthand experience practicing proper dining etiquette. The day’s agenda concluded with a very interesting presentation from a diverse panel of business professionals which included a small business owner, an executive director of a nonprofit agency, a woman who is self-employed, and the CEO of a local bank. Each speaker shared an overview of their business and provided insight about what they expect prospective employees to know and understand before they are hired. Overall, it was a valuable opportunity for students to gain knowledge and practice skills to enhance future employability and learn about local companies from some of our area’s successful business owners!

SAVE THE DATE - 2021 Red Ribbon Run & Challenge - Saturday, October 16




With hopeful thoughts and continued health and safety measures in mind, InnerAct Alliance is excited about plans to return the traditional family-friendly Red Ribbon Run to our community to prevent harm and promote health! 

The Red Ribbon Run & Challenge activities will kick off on Saturday, October 16th with the Red Ribbon Run for K-8 students, along with family run/walk and adult run/walk events around Lake Mirror, PLUS the enjoyable Kids Health Carnival. There will also be fun weekly prevention challenges following themes of Nutrition, Anti-Bullying, and Fitness offered in a virtual format through the end of October.

Please join us for the 2021 Red Ribbon Run & Challenge and Kids Health Carnival to support substance abuse prevention in our community. Stay tuned for more information soon on the event website at

Risks of Vaping & E-Cigarettes for Kids, Teens & Young Adults


Risks of Vaping & E-Cigarettes
for Kids, Teens & Young Adults

The use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults. Knowing the facts will help counteract the myths about vaping and e-cigarettes that are out on the internet and social media, on TV, in movies and music, or talked about among friends.

E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid and produce an aerosol or mix of small particles in the air. Often they are used to inhale nicotine and marijuana. Aerosol emitted can contain other harmful substances including heavy metals such as lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing chemicals.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) offer the following "Quick Facts" that are important for everyone to know:

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug that can:

* Harm brain development up to age 25
* Affect learning, memory, and attention
* Increase risk for future addition to other drugs
* Provide nearly 20 regular cigarettes worth of nicotine in one e-cigarette

E-Cigarette Vapor can contain harmful substances such as:

* Nicotine
* Cancer-causing chemicals
* Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, lead
* Flavorings that have been linked to lung disease

Healthy Lungs fight bacteria and diseases. Smoking and vaping can harm lungs by:

* Weakening normal defenses
* Causing lasting airway inflammation
* More likely to cause severe symptoms if you get a virus, like Coronavirus

*Learn more by vising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at:

InnerAct Alliance & UthMpact Are Proud Recipients of Grant Funding for Youth Mental Health


InnerAct Alliance & UthMpact Are Proud Recipients
 of Grant Funding for Youth Mental Health

InnerAct Alliance, and its youth coalition partner, UthMpact, are proud to be chosen as recipients of a grant award through the GiveWell Community Foundation to address problems related to youth mental health in our community.    

InnerAct Alliance proposes to use the funds to support efforts of the UthMpact Leadership Program, which brings together young leaders representing every high school in the Polk County area and nearly every walk of life, to work proactively in schools and in the community. Youth leaders will participate in extensive leadership training to prepare them to develop programs, activities, and services focused on creating positive change in their peer culture through social norms marketing, education, and philanthropy. The partnership between InnerAct Alliance and UthMpact has been successful in contributing to steady decline in the abuse of alcohol among Polk County youth from 28% to 16% over the past 9 years.

UthMpact Leadership's "Focus on Youth Mental Health" Project will endeavor to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, promote self-care, and promote equity by smashing common stereotypes and championing tolerance among teens. Members will create dynamic virtual messaging featuring profiles of teens who represent different ethnic/racial backgrounds and highlight cultural differences while underscoring similarities. Another objective will offer mental health moments in which teens will share successful strategies to reduce stress and offer possible solutions and resources in the community for their peers.   

“We are extremely grateful for the support of the GiveWell Community Foundation to help broaden the reach of UthMpact Leadership Program’s messaging and social norms efforts,” said Angie Ellison, executive director of InnerAct Alliance. 

For additional information, please contact InnerAct Alliance and UthMpact at (863) 802-0777.