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Informed Families Blog

President's Message - August 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on August 29, 2018 at 2:49 PM

DOES BACK TO SCHOOL MAKE YOU FRANTIC? 

It’s back to school time. Parents are out there frantically getting their children new clothes, new school supplies, new backpacks, etc.

Why not start with some new habits that will last a life time?! Here are three starters for healthier families:

1. Regular family dinner.

Family Day (September 24) is just around the corner. It’s the day we celebrate family dinners as a way to keep children safe, healthy and drug free. Children who eat dinner with their family five or more times a week are more likely to make healthy decisions around drugs and alcohol.

Thanks to feedback from Ambassador Tracy Bowen of Collier County, we’ll be offering tips for families throughout the month of September to make the most of mealtime and keep the conversation going strong.

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Topics: President's Message, children, drug prevention, back to school

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:

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

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.

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Topics: President's Message, children, summer, 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.”

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Topics: President's Message, children, mental health

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.
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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?

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

President's Message - February 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on February 26, 2018 at 3:09 PM

Have We All Lost Our Minds?

It certainly seems like it from the news!

School Safety is the topic du jour for good reason: the loss of 17 innocent lives.  We don’t educate our children for 16 years just to have them senselessly gunned down on school property and this is the 25th fatal, active school shooting at an elementary or high school since Columbine.

Have we learned anything?  I don’t think so when I listen to the news. The script is the same with people suggesting half-baked answers (it is like whack-a-mole) rather than holistic answer which recognize the complexities underlying the problem.  Is this because we allow media to set the agenda with blaring headlines, tight deadlines and sound bites? Problems can’t be solved on TV before the close of the show; it requires hard work, time and HONESTY about who we are as a people. What are our beliefs and values? Our true beliefs and values define our Behaviors.

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Topics: President's Message, holidays

President's Message - January 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on January 9, 2018 at 3:18 PM

2017 Approved Peggy Sapp headshot.jpg

Accountability In 2018

Currently in America, agreement is neither common nor in vogue. Finally, I found the current in vogue agreement… IT AIN’T MY FAULT by The Brothers Osbourne.

Whether you are a fan or Country Music or not, country music tells everyday facts. In their 2017 hit, “It Ain’t My Fault,” The Brothers Osborne tell the common theme prevalent in American Society: the story of a person who is unwilling to accept responsibility for his actions AND THEY HAVE GREAT CLARITY ON WHY IT AIN’T THEIR FAULT.

Here’s an excerpt:

 

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Topics: President's Message, holidays

President's Message - December 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on December 11, 2017 at 2:45 PM

This month, I'm bringing back an oldie but goodie that people seem to really love. It's a great reminder of what's really important this holiday season.

People Are Gifts Sent To Me Wrapped

People Are Gifts Sent To Me Wrapped!
Some are wrapped beautifully;
They are attractive when I first see them.

Some come in very ordinary wrapping paper.
Others have been mishandled in the mail.
Once in a while there is a “Special Delivery.”

Some persons are gifts which come very loosely wrapped;
Others very tightly.

But the wrapping is not the gift!
It is easy to make that mistake…
It is amusing when babies do it.

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Topics: President's Message, holidays

President's Message - November 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on November 28, 2017 at 10:01 PM

A Time To Give Thanks

November signifies a time of gratitude for all things. As we gather with our families for delicious dinners prepared with the best trimmings, we reflect deeply on what truly means the most to us and express gratitude for those things.

After 35 years of providing families with the tools to help kids make healthy choices, I am extremely thankful for the success of Informed Families. This year, I have plenty to be thankful for.

I am thankful for the hard-working staff of Informed Families for working diligently to ensure that families and children are united to combat the social pressures of underage drinking and illegal drug use.

I am thankful for an active Board of Trustees, who altruistically dedicates their time to supporting our mission and achieving our vision.  

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Topics: Family Day, President's Message, red ribbon, red ribbon week, drug abuse, 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 .

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