Informed Families Catalyst
President's Message - August 2023
As we gear up to celebrate Family Day on September 25, 2023, I wanted to take a moment to share some heartfelt thoughts with all of you.
In an era where distractions and societal pressures constantly beckon young minds, one challenge stands out starkly: substance abuse in schools. For many educators, confronting this challenge is more than just fulfilling a mandate. It's about preserving the sanctity of educational spaces and ensuring a bright future for every child.
As society continues to evolve, so do the complexities and challenges facing our younger generations. More than ever, there's an urgent need to equip our children with the right knowledge, skills, and attitudes to help them navigate the world safely and responsibly. This need underscores the critical importance of starting prevention education at a young age - particularly, at the elementary school level.
President's Message - August 2023
The phrase "Back to School" tends to stir a whirlwind of emotions in all of us. What are the first
words that spring to mind for you? And what about your child?
Congratulations to our 2020 Red Ribbon Certified Schools: Eccleston Elementary, Lake Como School and Rock Lake Elementary in Orange County and Redland Middle School in Miami-Dade County.
Becoming a Red Ribbon Certified School is a distinguished achievement for schools focused on prevention and healthy student outcomes. The UCF Institute for Social and Behavioral Sciences at University of Central Florida assessed their performance in four areas: school environment, best practices in education, parent engagement and substance abuse prevention activities.
“Studies show that in the wake of the pandemic, youth are experiencing an increase in mental health issues like loneliness, depression, anxiety and grief. We expect to see an increase in alcohol and drug misuse to cope with the secondary effects of Covid-19,” said Peggy Sapp, Informed Families President and CEO. “The pandemic is highlighting the need for healthy environments and prevention practices as part of school culture. Schools offer more than just academics. They provide support and services to help kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free. We are so proud of all the schools that recognize the importance of prevention and have gone the extra mile to become Red Ribbon Certified.”
It's back to school…are you ready? Informed Families’ summers are busy, as we prepare campaign toolkits and drug prevention resources for our statewide programs for the new school year.
As the school year begins, we look forward to hearing from our esteemed supporters, Ambassadors and dedicated parents. Our very first message was from a wonderful Ambassador, Anne Lewis of Baker County, who really re-energized all of us with her note. Here's what she wrote:
I am so excited for the new school year and it is because of Informed Families! I completed my order for materials today and then went to the website to check out everything there. I LOVE the Family Dinner info and activities there. I have downloaded all of it and began planning and organizing that very minute. This has always been one of my favorite events and I plan to make it huge in my schools and community this year.
Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School in Sanford, Florida struck gold when they recruited Wing Isom to join the school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) over seven years ago. Now, Isom serves as the school’s PTA President and more recently, she has taken on a new role: Informed Families Ambassador.
Calling Isom “an involved parent” is a vast understatement – and calling her an average Informed Families Ambassador would be equally incorrect. Since the fall of 2015, in her short time as an Informed Families Ambassador, Isom has delivered all three Informed Families campaigns (Family Day™, Red Ribbon Week®, and Lock Your Meds®) with great thought, energy and enthusiasm to the children and families at Goldsboro Elementary.
“We all talk about issues facing our children, but I love doing something about them,” said Wing. “As an Informed Families Ambassador, I connect parents at our school with wonderful prevention resources and I try to do it in a way that works best for our particular school.”
Florida Schools Honored For Prevention Success During 2014-2015 School Year
Go Team! 18 schools across the State of Florida just earned bragging rights for their outstanding efforts to help prevent underage drinking and substance abuse. The All Star Safe, Healthy & Drug Free Schools were selected and recognized by Informed Families.
The schools (listed below) were chosen among hundreds of schools participating in Informed Families’ Ambassador Program for their demonstrated dedication to year-round prevention activities and for their success in actively engaging students, parents and faculty in prevention.
“Spring is the season for school celebrations – and now 18 of the most dedicated schools in Florida have more to celebrate,” said Peggy B. Sapp, President and CEO of Informed Families. “Informed Families All Star Safe, Healthy and Drug Free Schools understand the importance of spreading healthy, drug-free messages to help students and families make good choices surrounding alcohol and other drugs, ultimately saving lives. Our programs are designed to curb underage drinking, substance abuse and other risky behaviors - and the impact is real, thanks to the involvement of schools across Florida – and especially our All Star Schools.”