Blog

Informed Families Blog

President's Message - March 2019

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on March 19, 2019 at 3:50 PM

It's Time For A Duel With JUUL

As our Safe Homes Smart Parents campaign kicks off, we think about all of the unhealthy trends facing our youth and what parents can do to protect their children. Right now, we are fired up about the 78% increase in e-cigarette use among high school students, as a result of JUUL Labs’ targeting of our youth. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, last year, 3.6 million U.S. youth use e-cigarettes. Talk to any teacher or parent of a teen and they will confirm the schools are overrun by JUUL and kids are showing real signs of addiction.

Some lucky ones will put away their JUULs before they’re addicted.  But many are embarking on a lifelong addiction to nicotine.  Many of those will continue to use JUUL for a considerable amount of time, and we simply do not know what consequences long-term use will have on their health. 

What we do know is that e-cigarettes are not safe.  And we know that nicotine use by children and teens negatively impacts their brain development.  Among other things, it makes them more susceptible to addiction in general. The larger fear is they switch entirely to cigarettes and other tobacco products that are even more dangerous.

Read More

Topics: President's Message, parenting, safe homes smart parties, children, tobacco, parents, juul

President's Message - January 2019

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on January 23, 2019 at 10:50 AM

5 Steps To Creating A Happy & Healthy Family In 2019

Have you seen Informed Families’ Lock Your Meds signs at your local Publix Pharmacy store? Through our amazing partnership with Publix Pharmacy, we are reaching roughly 1.2 million people in 720 stores across Florida and 397 in the Southeastern US with the Lock Your Meds message. Wow!

A happy and healthy family starts when you create a safe and healthy environment for children.  This includes securing your medication, taking regular inventory to ensure nothing is missing and safely disposing of unused or expired medication.  

Also, keep tabs on your liquor cabinet - and resist unhealthy social norms that make you feel bad for not “teaching your child to drink” at home. The research shows that children who start drinking before age 15 are 5 times more likely to have alcohol problems at adults.

Read More

Topics: President's Message, parenting, marijuana, lock your meds, family bonding, safe homes smart parties, alcohol, parents, family dinner

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

Informed Families Receives $25K Grant To Expand Safe Homes Smart Parties

Posted by Informed Families on November 22, 2017 at 12:18 PM

Thanks to a generous grant from the 2017 State Attorney's Safer & Healthier Communities Fund through the Miami Foundation, Informed Families will be expanding our Safe Homes Smart Parties campaign to address safe driving.

The program will reduce impaired driving by educating over 40,000 teens and families in 30 Miami-Dade high schools about the danger, consequences, illegality and social unacceptability of impaired driving through educational materials, educational activities and a targeted, interactive awareness campaign in schools and online.

Read More

Topics: safe parties, safe homes smart parties, driving

President's Message - April 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on April 25, 2017 at 5:44 PM

Listen Up: Teen Mistakes & Their Unintended, Permanent Consequences

4,300 children die each year due to underage drinking-related causes. Springtime is a peak time for celebrations - and that's why parents need to take steps to ensure parties held in their home and in the community are Safe Homes, Smart Parties. Sure, there’s a chance your kids will make it out unscathed, but is it really worth the risk? 

US District Court Judge Beth Bloom and her son Jacob Stern, a high school student then attending Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove, developed a presentation called "Listen Up: Teen Mistakes & Their Unintended, Permanent Consequences." For a busy parent of a teenager, Jacob's presentation is concise, eye-opening and should be mandatory viewing for both kids and parents! I ask you to please watch our 30-minute video and share it with your friends who are raising teenagers. Get the family together and spend 30 minutes to save yourselves a lot of time, money and hassle. The beauty of online viewing is you can stop and restart at your convenience.

Read More

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

What Actually Goes On at High School Parties?

Posted by Informed Families on April 13, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Parents of high schoolers worry about the parties their kids attend, and rightfully so. Drinking and drug use may occur at unsupervised parties; inebriated teens may get behind the wheel and endanger the lives of themselves, their passengers and innocent drivers; and alcohol poisoning, sexual assault or arrest are stark possibilities when minors drink to excess.

However, the image of a crazy high school party in which parents are on vacation and the whole school shows up for a kegger is a little overblown. Yes, the occasional party does approach out-of-control levels, but the majority of parties are smaller affairs, drawing no more than a few dozen kids, and perhaps even thrown with the blessing of parents who think teens will be safer if they drink in a supervised setting.

Read More

Topics: high school, safe homes smart parties

President's Message - March 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on March 31, 2017 at 9:29 AM

Two Things I've Learned About Prom & Graduation Season

It’s Party Time! Prom, Spring Break, Graduation... We want our kids to have fun and create memories – but we want them to be safe. Both can be achieved by serving the best thing parents can serve their children: common sense. Kids who start drinking before age 15 are 6 times more likely to develop alcohol problems as adults. And with 4,300 children dying each year due to underage drinking-related causes, we all need to help our kids celebrate safely.

The two things I’ve learned about Prom & Graduation Season are:

Read More

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

Star Ambassador: Martina Belotti of Monroe County

Posted by Informed Families on March 16, 2017 at 11:55 AM

After raising five kids and running a full time child care center for over two decades, Martina "Tina" Belotti has dedicated her life to helping all Monroe County children have a bright future. As an Informed Families Ambassador and professional counselor at Marathon Middle School and Marathon High School, Tina works to help students grow up safe, healthy and drug free through Informed Families’ four campaigns and several other initiatives.

“I originally heard about Informed Families over the years at different statewide conferences,” said Tina. “I am very happy to be an Ambassador and gain access to the resources they provide me. As a prevention counselor, I do a monthly presentation to students, in addition to various groups, and I typically have to seek out and be creative about obtaining materials. I want the kids to get excited about prevention on campus so it helps.”

From running lunchtime youth-led pledge campaigns and coordinating activities for Red Ribbon Week to delivering the evidence-based program Project Success and volunteering with a team of students for various events such as the 7 Mile Bridge Run, Tina possesses a seemingly endless supply of energy and passion for her work. However, her budget for programs and activities is extremely limited. Luckily, what Tina lacks in finances, she makes up for in human resources. Tina works with her daughter, Dr. Christina Belotti, an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Marathon Middle School, to coordinate school-wide activities with 40 student volunteers, or Youth Ambassadors appropriately named the “Keys To Be The Change.”

Read More

Topics: red ribbon week, ambassadors, campaigns, safe homes smart parties, parents

Help Your Teen Throw Fun (and Safe) High School Parties

Posted by Informed Families on March 10, 2017 at 8:00 AM

The idea of high school parties often conjures images of outrageous bashes you remember from John Hughes movies or other teen flicks from the ’80s and ’90s. Or, perhaps you recall parties from your own youth and the chaos that may have accompanied them. These memories may scare you into never trusting your teens to throw a party themselves—even one that’s supervised.

Make no mistake: Unsupervised high school parties are a terrible idea, often descending into Sixteen Candles- or American Pie-type anarchy and destruction. However, when properly planned and supervised, with clear rules in place, your teens can throw a party for their friends that is both fun and safe. Here are some tips on how to help them make that happen:

Read More

Topics: high school, safe parties, safe homes smart parties

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