Ninth Annual Florida’s Kids and Alcohol Town Hall Scheduled for March 21
Longest Running Televised Town Hall Meeting Comes to the Palladium at St. Petersburg College
Tampa, Fla. (March 18, 2013) – On Thursday, March 21, LiveFree!, an alliance promoting awareness about the harmful effects of underage drinking, drug and other substance abuse among youth, young adults and adults, and WEDU (in partnership with St. Petersburg College, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Pinellas County Schools, Pinellas Park Police Department, Operation PAR and others) will host the 9th Annual 2013 Florida’s Kids & Alcohol Partnerships for Success: The Power and Promise of Community at the Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College. Doors open at 4 p.m.
The Florida’s Kids and Alcohol series is the longest running televised town hall meetings in the country and is proving successful in terms of continuing community interest in underage drinking prevention.
Moderator Laura McElroy is an experienced journalist and media professional, who currently works for the Tampa Police Department. Laura has been involved with numerous town hall meetings over the years. This community initiative has grown expanded each year, adding a webcasts, a youth and coalition expo and expanded online resources.
Discussion topics will include:
- positive outcomes of community
- underage alcohol use
- synthetic marijuana use
- prescription drug misuse and abuse
- peer pressures youth face
Panelists will include: High school students, LiveFree! Coalition Executive Director Jackie Griffin, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Health Educators and more. The meeting will be recorded on March 21 and will air at 9 p.m. April 25 on WEDU-TV. Those with specific questions they would like to see discussed can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“LiveFree! and our partners are thrilled to bring the Town Hall meeting to The Palladium at St. Petersburg College and are hoping for our biggest turn out to date,” said Jackie Griffin, executive director of LiveFree!. “We are looking forward to a spirited and interactive discussion about one of the most important issues affecting kids and teens today.”
The event will also include the presentations of both the LiveFree! Excellence Awards and the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Pinellas County Achievement Awards to individuals and organizations committed to building healthier communities.
LiveFree! Excellence Awards are presented periodically throughout the year to individuals who promote healthy, drug-free lifestyles in the community. Winners include:
- Cheri Wright-Jones, Tampa Bay Regional Vice President of Allegany Franciscan Ministries – Cheri joined Allegany Franciscan Ministries in 2011. She is responsible for Allegany Franciscan Ministries’ grant-making and community engagement activities in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Cheri’s career has focused on increasing access to healthcare services and building capacity within non-profit organizations.
- Martha Lenderman, Community Advocate – Martha retired after 30 years of service to the State, having served at one time as the state’s Baker Act director. Martha’s many contributions to the mental health and substance abuse field include: assisted the Legislature in the 1996 rewrite of the Baker Act; wrote the Florida Administrative Rules governing the Baker Act; developed the model Baker Act and Marchman Act forms; developed the Baker Act facility survey instruments for DCF and Agency for Health Care Administration; and wrote the state’s Baker Act and Marchman Act Handbooks.
- Nancy Hamilton, President and CEO, Operation PAR, Inc. – Nancy Hamilton is a Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJAP) and a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She has more than 40 years of experience in behavioral health care services, including more than 39 years as a trainer, adjunct instructor and teacher in prevention, intervention and treatment services.
- Maria Roberts, Personal Enrichment through Mental Health Services – Maria is the Senior Director of Children’s Services at Personal Enrichment through Mental Health Services. She has over 20 years of experience in direct service, program development and management with a professional goal to help expand and improve systems of care for individuals and families in our community.
- Gay Lancaster, JWB Children’s Services Council – D. Gay has served as the Executive Director of the JWB Children’s Services Council since September 2006. She oversees the funding of programs that deliver critical services to more than 73,000 children in Pinellas County. She has been associated with numerous professional and community organizations including, Leadership Tampa Bay and Leadership Pinellas.
- Charles Bigby, Jack and Jill Youth Club – Charles Bigby is a junior at Manatee School for the Arts majoring in dance. His extra-curricular activities include participation in a scientific scuba diving team called, Teen Research Underwater Explorers (T.R.U.E), he is a photographer, the teen president of the Pinellas-Manatee County Jack and Jill of America, Inc, and a member of LiveFree!. He is also an active member of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Explorers Program
- Brenda Lizeth Vargas, LiveFree! Largo High Club President – Brenda Lizeth Vargas Pioquinto is a sophomore at Largo High School and currently in ExCEL magnet program. She is the current President of the Largo High School LiveFree! Club where she has developed leadership skills and learned to believe in her capabilities. Her goal is to make changes and help her community.
- Heaven Taylor-Wynn, Jack and Jill Youth Club – Heaven Taylor-Wynn is a freshman student in the International Baccalaureate program at St. Petersburg High School. She is a member of the drama club, a cheerleader with the Rock Solid Allstars. a member of the National Achievers Society at St. Petersburg College, and a member of the Jack and Jill Inc. Pinellas County chapter, LiveFree! club. Heather also volunteers as a tutor for elementary aged kids at her church.
“LiveFree! is exceptionally honored to present these awards to Pinellas County prevention leaders,” said Griffin. “Their advocacy, personal dedication and investment and leadership is essential to our prevention system of care.”
In addition to the LiveFree! Excellence Awards, each year, the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Pinellas County presents Achievement Awards to honor individuals and organizations who have championed tobacco-related causes in our community. This year’s winners include:
- Bay Pines VA – for implementing policies to create a smoke-free environment for clients, guests and staff.
- St Petersburg Housing Authority – for implementing policies to create a smoke-free environment for residents, guests and staff.
- USF St. Petersburg – for implementing policies to create a smoke-free environment for students, guests and staff.
- Shore Acres Rehabilitation and Health Center – for making changes to your agency’s smoking policy to ensure the safety and health of all residents.
- Eckerd Community Alternatives – for implementing policies to create smoke-free homes for children and residents of Pinellas County.
- City of Indian Rocks Beach – for enacting two ordinances to create a healthier beach and make playgrounds and parks smoke-free.
- Wellness Council of Tampa Bay – for assisting organizations in implementing smoke-free campuses and in implementing policies to help employees quit smoking.
- NeuroRestorative-Clearwater – for providing assistance in assembling the tobacco-free “Quitkits” for distribution to community members.
- Gulfcoast North Area Health Education Center– for providing smoking cessation counseling to residents of Pinellas County.
- PSCU Financial – for implementing policies to create a smoke-free environment for employees and guests.
- Catalina Marketing – for implementing policies to create a smoke-free environment for employees and guests.
- PODS, Inc. – for implementing policies to create a smoke-free environment for employees and guests.
- Valpak – for participating in the Great American Smokeout and initiating policies to aid employees to quit smoking.
- Pinellas County Government – for implementing employee wellness policies to aid employees that smoke in quitting.
- Westminster Shores of St. Petersburg – for implementing policies to create a smoke-free environment for residents, guests and staff.
- Gulf Coast Jewish Family Center Services, Inc – for initiating policies to aid employees to quit smoking.
- Ben Sorrell, Pinellas Park High School SWAT Advisor – For your commitment to assisting the youth of Pinellas Park High School to live healthy and tobacco-free lives.
- Leslie Simmons, Azalea Middle School SWAT Advisor – For your commitment to assisting the youth of Azalea Middle School to live healthy and tobacco-free lives.
- Michael Yakes-Mayor of Gulfport, Florida – Your continued efforts to change the pre-emption of tobacco policy of the State of Florida.
For more information about (and to reserve free tickets to) the Town Hall Meeting, visit: www.wedu.org/kidsandalcohol).
About LiveFree! Coalition
LiveFree! Coalition raises awareness about the harmful effects of substance abuse among youth, young adults and adults in Pinellas County. By offering trainings, advocacy, town hall meetings, a Speaker’s Bureau, environmental strategies and awareness events, LiveFree! encourages Pinellas County families to live safe, healthy and drug-free. For more information, visit the blog at www.livefreeblog.org or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/livefreeFL.