Tracy Bowen, an Informed Families Ambassador who serves as the coordinator for K-12 Health, P.E. and Drivers Education for all Collier County Public Schools, is a true prevention champion and this month’s star ambassador for her dedication to the children of Collier County.
"I love being an Informed Families Ambassador because I want to be the best role model and advocate for a drug free lifestyle and family-centered life for all of the students, parents and educators in our district," said Bowen.
Bowen was first introduced to Informed Families four years ago through Informed Families Board Member Pat Barton and our partners at Drug Free Collier, Ana DiMercurio and Melanie Black. Drug Free Collier is a drug free coalition with a mission of “uniting the community to protect the children of Collier County from substance abuse.” Bowen works closely with the coalition to implement prevention programming in her school district.
Bowen, whose goal is to have an Ambassador in all Collier County Schools, orders materials for elementary, middle and high schools in Collier County, depending on the campaign, in an effort to educate students and parents – and to engage her school communities in prevention.
“The campaign materials are fantastic," said Bowen. "Red Ribbon Week is my favorite campaign, but I’ve really taken a liking to Family Day. I promoted Family Day heavily this year. In addition to sharing the message with our schools, I celebrated Family Day at home. My daughter and I took a picture of our own family dinner that day and I shared it on Twitter. Family Day is a reminder of the importance of disconnecting from the other things that go on in our lives to sit down with our families and talk.”
Bowen’s efforts to promote Family Day, a campaign which encourages families to eat dinner together regularly to prevent substance abuse, clearly paid off. One of the three winning families in the Florida Family Day Photo Contest was the Huang Family in Naples, whose child attends Laurel Oak Elementary in Naples. The Huangs found out about the contest through their school coordinator, Amy Gallard, who learned about it at a county-wide training at the beginning of the year.
Bowen likes Red Ribbon Week so much that she developed a clever way to keep the campaign message and conversation going through February. Students receive Red Ribbon bracelets in October and are challenged to continue wearing them through the opening of the Collier County Fair, which takes place in February. The students are often asked questions by fellow students, parents and other community members about why they are wearing the bracelet, which sparks additional conversations about the importance of being drug free.
Informed Families applauds Tracy's creativity, passion and hard work. We are thrilled to recognize her for her outstanding efforts to help kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free in Collier County – and we look forward to working together for years to come.