Blog

Informed Families Blog

Informed Families

Recent Posts

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

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

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

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

Introducing The 2018 Red Ribbon Theme: Life Is Your Journey. Travel Drug Free.™

Posted by Informed Families on February 16, 2018 at 12:57 PM

Drum roll, please! After receiving thousands of Red Ribbon Week theme ideas from students, parents, educators, law enforcement and community members across the U.S., the National Family Partnership proudly announced this year's winning theme: "Life Is Your Journey. Travel Drug Free™." 

Taeya Moore, a student at Solon Middle School in Solon, Ohio created the theme for 2018 Red Ribbon Week, which takes place October 23-31, and will receive $500 of prevention materials for her school.

The annual National Red Ribbon Theme Contest, sponsored by the National Family Partnership, offers students and other prevention supporters the opportunity to be a part of history. The winning slogan will be used throughout 2018 in thousands of schools and communities across America.


Read More

Topics: red ribbon, red ribbon week, red ribbon theme, 2015 red ribbon theme

Webinar: Strategies To Prevent Underage Drinking

Posted by Informed Families on January 18, 2018 at 11:03 AM

The-Next-Step-College-Students.jpgAlcohol is the most widely used drug by both adults and youth. Underage drinking is associated with academic challenges, health issues, negative social consequences, emergency room visits and roughly 4,300 tragic deaths per year.

Luckily, there are effective ways to keep our kids safe.

Learn about underage drinking in Florida and proven ways to prevent it by joining us at a webinar hosted by the Florida Alcohol & Drug Abuse Association (FADAA) on Wednesday, January 24 from 1pm-3pm (ET).

The webinar will feature Dr. David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) and Associate Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Register Now

Read More

Topics: Webinars, underage drinking, drug prevention

Opioids In Florida: The Latest Stats

Posted by Informed Families on January 3, 2018 at 12:30 PM

How Large Is The Opioid Problem In Florida?

With the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation, Florida is certainly not immune. And apparently, the problem is getting worse. According to a recent report from Florida's medical examiners, there has been a dramatic 22% increase (2,126 more deaths) of in drug-related deaths from the prior year. The report also showed a 35% increase in opioid-related deaths (1,483 over the previous year for a total of 5,725).

Not suprisingly, more deaths were caused by prescription drugs than illicit drugs, accounting for 61% of all drug occurrences in the report. After all, availability and a low perception of harm lead to increased use and abuse.

The drugs that caused the most deaths were cocaine, benzodiazepines, fentanyl, morphine, heroin, alcohol, oxycodone, methadone and methamphetamine.

“Clearly, those are shocking numbers and we have got to do something about it,” said Senate Health Policy Chairwoman Dana Young, R-Tampa to The News Service of Florida.

Here are additional highlights from the report: 

Read More

Topics: prescription, prescription drug abuse, lock your meds, prescription drugs, drug abuse, drug prevention, opioids

Informed Families Partners With The National Institute On Drug Abuse

Posted by Informed Families on December 8, 2017 at 12:38 PM

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week To Be Celebrated In Schools Across Florida

Once again, Informed Families is partnering with NIDA to implement National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week in schools and communities across Florida. Specifically, Informed Families will provide science-based prevention materials to hundreds of schools as part of the 2018 Lock Your Meds Campaign.

Additionally, Informed Families will share NIDA's National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge quiz (Test Your Knowledge Now) during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, which helps teens test their knowledge about drugs, alcohol, and drug abuse with an interactive quiz.

Read More

Topics: drug abuse, nida, drug prevention

Announcing The FL Red Ribbon Photo Contest Winner

Posted by Informed Families on December 1, 2017 at 12:15 PM

East Lake Elementary School & Sims Family Win 2017 National & Florida Red Ribbon Week Photo Contests

$2,500 Earned for Drug Prevention from NFP, Informed Families & DEA

‘Tis the season for giving! East Lake Elementary School and the Sims family are the proud winners of the much-anticipated 2017 National Red Ribbon Week and Informed Families’ Florida Red Ribbon Week Photo Contests. Students, faculty and staff were fearlessly led by Teacher Jean Jupa in decorating the campus with this year’s theme, “Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free®”. At the same time, the Sims family honored the tradition of the nation’s oldest drug prevention campaign by decorating the front of their home to promote their commitment to living a healthy and drug-free lifestyle during Red Ribbon Week ® (Oct. 23-31).

Jean Jupa and the Sims Family will each receive an iPad from NFP, the school will receive $500 from Informed Families for winning the Florida Red Ribbon Photo Contest and a $2,000 prize from National Red Ribbon Photo Contest co-sponsors, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), to be used toward drug prevention.

Read More

Topics: red ribbon, red ribbon week, red ribbon photo contest, drug prevention

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