Since 1986, Ray Lozano has educated and entertained thousands of students in hundreds of middle schools and high schools from Alaska to Florida, and internationally in the Cayman Islands and Ethiopia, Africa. He has a talent and gift for conveying what could be construed as boring drug and alcohol prevention information in such a fun and humorous way that his audiences come away informed and entertained. The best analogy would be giving your kids medicine in a spoonful of sugar. There’s a good reason that his audiences feel like they just came back from the Improv rather than from a “lecture.”
Ray Lozano has performed stand-up comedy at the Improv in Hollywood and Ontario, CA. It is his background in comedy that keeps his audiences coming back time and time again. The fact that he has been asked to return to some of the same schools across the nation, some for as long as 23 years, speaks to his ability to keep information updated, fresh, and relevant.
Lozano’s varied experience professionally has equipped him to become the unique speaker that he is today. His career started out by being educated at the Teen Challenge Ministry Institute, where he saw firsthand the ravages of drug use in young adults. Upon graduation, he began working as a Site Director Assistant with Teen Challenge Imperial Valley. Having never used drugs or alcohol, this was an eye-opening experience to see firsthand the deleterious effects that drugs have on a young person. He saw how drugs stripped away a person’s full potential from what they could have achieved in life. From working with people fighting their way back from addiction, he realized he wanted to work with kids before they got involved in drugs and alcohol, which led him to his work in prevention. As a vice principal at a private elementary school, he launched a successful afterschool program with an emphasis on promoting a family-oriented, drug-free philosophy.
Ray Lozano was the program specialist for the Youth Alternative Solutions at a major children’s hospital in southern California. YASP provided drug and alcohol awareness classes for youth ages 14-18 which helped to increase the adolescent’s knowledge of effects of drugs and alcohol on the body, consequences of risky behaviors, alternative choices, the addictive process m, and the self-efficacy of making life choices. The program’s hope is to help decrease the incidence of injury to adolescents and to provide positive behavioral choices, referrals, and various resources when needed.
He is the founder, speaker, and trainer of Prevention Plus and is training youth and adults nationally and internationally in drug prevention, current drug information, and parenting skills in order to successfully help the child be drug free. Of note, Ray Lozano is very skilled at effective planning and implementation of community development with prevention strategies, extended project formatting, and organization growth and goal planning.
Challenges and Opportunities: Why Poverty Matters and Why YOU Can Matter More
Tammy Pawloski, PhD
Tammy Pawloski has led more than 1000 professional learning events for teachers, school leaders, and stakeholders. She understands the challenges and opportunities of teaching, and has devoted the last fifteen years to the study of children of poverty—why they struggle and which strategies have the greatest impact. Pawloski is a noted expert because of her breadth of knowledge, however what resonates most with teachers and school leaders is her ability to deliver an uncommon combination of research, practice, and compelling stories from the field that both empower and challenge.
Breaking the Stigma
World Ranked: After being paroled from prison on December 13, 2008, Tony Hoffman started living out his dream, with his addiction behind him. Tony is a former BMX Elite Pro and placed 2nd at the 2016 World Championships in Medellin, Colombia, in the Masters Pro class. He is a 2016 Rio Summer Olympics coach with women’s BMX Pro Brooke Crain in his lineup. His story is full of redemption as he has seen some of the highest highs and the lowest lows. Tony is the Founder and Director of The Freewheel Project, a nonprofit organization that mentors thousands of youth through action sports - BMX, skateboarding, and afterschool programs. The Freewheel Project focuses annually on teaching kids leadership skills and making healthy life choices, including substance abuse prevention.
The Early Years: Tony has been sober since May 17, 2007. His BMX career started in high school and he was a top-ranked BMX amateur with multiple endorsements. As a native of Clovis, California, where he attended Clovis High School, Tony started drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, and using prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin by his senior year. His life took a turn for the worse as he became addicted at such a young age, losing everything.
In 2004, Tony committed a home invasion armed robbery and was ultimately sent to prison for two years in 2007. Tony understands the despair addicts go through as even a ten-year prison sentence threat could not stop him from using during his probation. During his time in prison, Tony began rebuilding his life and as soon as he was released, he utilized the positives and negatives in his life to get to where he is today.
Today: Tony is a changed man and inspires so many to live their life with purpose. Tony has dedicated his life to bringing awareness around the country, describing how dangerous prescription pill and heroin abuse are, as well as advocating a shift in thinking toward current addiction/recovery processes.
Professionally, CMSAF (Ret) Lefford Fate has led, mentored, and served thousands of military members and their families. He spent nearly 31 years in the US Air Force. Lefford served as Command Chief for the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, SC, and as the lead advisor and mentor for 5,000 personnel in 19 squadrons and tenant units operating 85 F-16 planes. Prior to that post, he served as the Command Chief for the 505th Command and Control Wing in Hulbert Field, FL. He is a past recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal with four devices; the Air Force Commendation Medal with one device; the Air Force Achievement Medal/ Meritorious Unit Award; the USAF Outstanding Unit Award with Valor and six devices; the Air Force Recognition Ribbon/Numerous Campaign Medals for service in Southwest Asia and the Global War on Terrorism; the SNCO (Senior Non-Commissioned Officer) of the Year; and, the Mental Health SNCO of the Year (Europe). Since retiring from the military, he was the program director for a geriatric mental health program, Director for Health Services for the SC Department of Corrections, and is currently the Director of Support Services for the City of Sumter. He is a best-selling author who co-wrote, along with Jack Canfield, the book Success Starts Today. Even with all these accolades, he states that his greatest accomplishments are being a husband, father, and grandfather.