Blog

Informed Families Blog

President's Message - July 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on July 25, 2018 at 11:16 AM

OPIOIDS. OPIOIDS. OPIOIDS. 

Do I have your attention? I’ve noticed that when I use the term “drug prevention,” people sometimes tune out…but when they hear “Opioids,” they appear to perk up. Opioids, they understand.

Many people, sadly, aren’t entirely sold on the importance or relevance of drug prevention to their daily lives. “Not my child. Not my family.” Even Ginger Katz, a mom who lost her son to a drug overdose and who we feature on our blog this month, shared the same feeling before it happened to her. Ginger’s story is both heartbreaking and inspiring, but if we don’t show stories like Ginger’s, the public is going to continue to sweep the problem under the rug. And as Ginger so aptly said when we interviewed her, “we shove it under the rug until our heads hit the ceiling.”

We understand that drug prevention isn’t a “sexy” hot topic. On top of that, we are all needing a brain vacation and many of us only have enough time and energy to deal with what’s in front of us.

I am coining 2 new mental conditions:

Read More

Topics: President's Message, children, drug prevention, opioids, mental health

Family Focus: Ginger Katz of the Courage To Speak Foundation

Posted by Informed Families on July 11, 2018 at 11:57 AM

When Ginger Katz’s 20-year-old son Ian died of a drug overdose, the doctors suggested she tell people that he died of a heart attack or brain aneurysm. Katz said that the night before the funeral, she couldn’t sleep, feeling “physically, spiritually and intellectually” unable to attend the next day’s events.

“I felt that [for me to attend the funeral] they’d have to carry me,” said Katz. “Then, I’m not sure where it came from but at some point that night, I visualized speaking out. I was not one for public speaking but I woke my husband up and told him that I wanted to speak out. I said, ‘if this is happening to us, it’s happening to other families and no one is talking about it.’”

Twenty-two years later, Ginger and her husband Larry Katz are still talking about their experience through the non-profit organization they ultimately founded: the Courage to Speak Foundation. They make presentations to children, parents, educators, clergy, professionals and others in 40 states. Knowing that their story alone could only take families so far, Ginger and Larry worked with a team of experts to develop curriculum evaluated and recommended by the Yale School of Medicine. Their elementary, middle and high school curriculum is implemented across the country. Additionally, they offer a multi-session program for parents called Courage to Speak -Courageous Parenting 101®.

Read More

Topics: overdose, drug prevention, opioids, parents

President's Message - June 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on June 22, 2018 at 9:04 PM

A VACATION FOR THE BRAIN

A brain vacation. Doesn’t that sound so divine?

Busy, busy, busy. We are all so busy. How did this happen?  Suddenly we feel at least 50% busier than we used to feel.

Moments that used to be prime opportunities for mental breaks, such as stopping at a red light, riding in an elevator, walking down the street, sitting in a waiting room, eating a meal, relaxing on a chair outside or going to the beach, are now perfect opportunities to quickly check your phone, make plans, respond to texts or read the 24/7/365 crazy-making news. No wonder we all feel so busy.

Whether we are legitimately busy or we just feel that way doesn’t matter. Our brains respond the same way to stress. According to the CDC, suicides have increased by over 30% since 1999. This stress is one of the reasons why.

We talk about what screens do to our children, but we need to start thinking about what they are doing to us, too. It’s time for a brain vacation.

Read More

Topics: President's Message, children, summer, mental health, suicide

Orlando Schools Earn National Recognition & Red Ribbon Certification

Posted by Informed Families on June 22, 2018 at 3:35 PM

Three Orange County schools, Robinswood Middle, Wedgefield K-8 and Winegard Elementary, will be raising a new flag next year: a Red Ribbon Certified Schools flag, given to them for their outstanding, year-round substance abuse prevention efforts. The schools were among only four across the nation to receive the coveted title of Red Ribbon Certified Schools.

Red Ribbon Certified Schools, an Informed Families program, recognizes schools that improve academic performance by keeping kids drug and alcohol free, while engaging parents and the community. When families are looking for a safe school with a healthy environment, Red Ribbon Certified Schools are a good place to start. It's like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval for prevention.

Read More

Topics: red ribbon week, prevention, red ribbon certified schools

Suicide Prevention for Children & Teens

Posted by Informed Families on June 14, 2018 at 9:06 AM

Suicide is on the rise. According to the CDC, there's been a 30% rise in suicides since 1999. What can we do to prevent it? First we need to look at what’s causing it.

Many factors contribute to suicide and surprisingly, a history of mental issues is not always one of them. In fact, a recent study from the CDC found that 54 percent of the people who killed themselves didn't have a previously known mental health issue; rather, they were dealing with other problems including substance abuse or physical health, relationship, work or money issues.

The study emphasizes the need to both prevent the circumstances associated with the onset of emotional issues and to continue support those with known mental health issues. The authors of the study stress the need for prevention, which includes “teaching coping and problem-solving skills to manage everyday stressors and prevent future relationship problems, especially early in life; promoting social connectedness to increase a sense of belonging and access to informational, tangible, emotional, and social support.”

So what are some warning signs of suicide?

Read More

Topics: healthy kids, mental health, suicide

President's Message - May 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on May 23, 2018 at 3:23 PM

BUILDING MENTAL HEALTH IN A SICKLY SOCIETY

I opened my morning paper and read the headline: “100 men, on road to better futures, are sent back to prison by budget cuts.” The story about Turning Point Bridge, one of 33 Florida program providers to help prevent recidivism, losing its funding and having to send all of these men from their jobs and transitional support back to prison makes me ill. Don’t forget to pack a suitcase full of Naltrexone or Narcan, so if they overdose, they won’t die.  The State Budget included 1.4 million dollars per year for 5 years to buy those products.

The public demands quick fix answers and our elected officials try to please the public.  The public and many of our elected leaders lack the knowledge to connect the dots. Taking away funding from programs like Turning Point Bridge and other substance abuse prevention and treatment programs to pay for more police and metal detectors in schools isn’t going to solve school safety problems.

As Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Kai Koerber put so eloquently in a Miami Herald op-ed, “We have to engage in a national shift in consciousness in order to pick ourselves back up from the depths of inequity and madness; because the circumstances under which we find ourselves, today, are so dire that the only option we have to stop gun violence, and the birthing of domestic terrorists, is to look within, and provide the mind of every child, in every school, with mental health training that will carry them, peacefully, into adulthood.”

Read More

Topics: President's Message, children, mental health

33rd Annual Dinner At Joe's A Huge Success

Posted by Informed Families on May 16, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Dedicated Event Chair Joe Natoli & Sponsors Took Annual Event To New Heights

Miami’s finest gathered for Informed Families/The Florida Family Partnership’s 33rd Annual Dinner At Joe’s, showing their support for preventing drug problems before they start.

The illustrious event, held on Monday, May 14, was chaired by Joe Natoli of Baptist Health South Florida. Close to $250,000 was raised to support Informed Families’ statewide prevention programs and initiatives designed to help kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free.

400 guests attended the dinner, which was complete with local celebrity sightings, a pre-dinner Street Party and of course Joe’s signature stone crabs, coleslaw, hash browns, key lime pie and legendary service. Several attendees who haven’t missed a Joe’s dinner were recognized with a special pin to commemorate their commitment to Informed Families and helping kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free.

Some notable event attendees include: Betty Chapman and Dale Chapman Webb, Alfred & Pam Giganti Bunge, Penny Shaffer, Nancy & Jon Batchelor, Dorothy & Aaron Podhurst, Susan & Jim Carr, Judge Norma & Eugene Lindsey, Ginger Mead, Susan & Robin Shelley, Al Cardenas, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, Senator Anitere Flores and State Representative Nick Duran.

Check out the photos here.

“Informed Families focuses on addressing and preventing addiction and mental health issues among children and families by reducing risk factors and increase protective factors affecting our children,” said President & CEO Peggy Sapp. “We are so grateful to our community of Joe’s event supporters who inspire us with their outpouring of generosity and serve to remind us of the power of community involvement, which in itself is a protective factor.”

The event's success is the result of the dedication and generosity of the following sponsors:

Read More

Topics: Joe's Stone Crab, Peggy Sapp, Florida, fundraiser

President's Message - April 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on April 10, 2018 at 5:16 PM

WHAT IS AMERICA'S ALCOHOL AWARENESS?

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, so let’s talk about alcohol.

Parents are still the number one reason kids give for not using alcohol and drugs.

Parenting is a hard job. You rarely get thanked and pushing back against unhealthy behaviors is hard. We know you want the best for your kids – and when you know better, you do better.

Americans are more into using alcohol – and less into understanding alcohol’s negative effects, considering that:

  •  Alcohol is a carcinogen and is linked to cancer. In fact, alcohol is responsible for an estimated 15 percent of US breast cancer cases (35,000/year) and deaths (6,600/year).
  • Underage drinking causes 4,300 deaths and 189,000 emergency room visit per year and  
  • Alcohol damages our stem cells.
  • People who consume more than one drink a day are more likely to die earlier and have greater health problems.
Read More

Topics: President's Message, safe parties, safe homes smart parties

President's Message - March 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on March 22, 2018 at 12:00 AM

SAFE HOMES SMART PARENTS

Last week, we had an amazing conference call with one of our absolutely favorite Ambassadors, Tracy Bowen, of Collier County Public Schools. Tracy said that our Safe Homes Smart Parties campaign should be renamed the Safe Homes Smart Parents campaign because Safe Parties Require Smart Parents. Parents are the key to safe children.

She hit the nail on the head and we are taking her advice very seriously and determining what that change means for our campaign. The best ideas come from boots on the ground and Tracy is a wonderful example of someone using her knowledge, experience and passion to help the children in her community grow up safe, healthy and drug free.

It’s been 36 years since we founded Informed Families and I’m still simultaneously confident that our prevention programs will help students make good choices this Spring Break and fearful that some parents are misinformed about the dangers of underage drinking, thus choosing to host parties and expose children to potentially frightening consequences. Social norms about alcohol are overwhelming to a parent’s better judgment. How can we help each and every parent take a stand for Safe Parties?

Read More

Topics: President's Message, safe parties, safe homes smart parties

Joe's Pre-Party At Miami Cancer Institute

Posted by Informed Families on March 14, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Informed Families kicked off preparations for its 33rd Annual Dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant at an exclusive Pre-Party held at the Miami Cancer Institute (MCI) at Baptist Health South Florida (BHSF).

President & CEO Peggy Sapp and Joe’s Event Chair Joe Natoli welcomed guests who shared their favorite stories from past dinners and enjoyed live music from the Greater Miami Youth Symphony. Guests received tours of the new Proton Therapy Center at MCI. BHSF’s Care & Counseling team presented on the Opioid epidemic, which led to a thoughtful conversation on how we can tackle the crisis.

Check out photos from the Pre-Party!

The Annual Informed Families Dinner at Joe’s, to be held on Monday, May 14, supports programs that further the organization’s mission of helping kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free.

Read More

Topics: Joe's Stone Crab, healthy kids

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all