The second phase, taking place over the summer of 2013, will see the launch of an online food allergy training course and webinars for school staff, as well as some on-site staff training. Phase three, scheduled for the fall, involves online allergy courses for students training in the food services program at Florida State College at Jacksonville.
Lauren has also led the process of introducing menu software so that school cafeterias can make food allergen information easily accessible online. Her home district of Martin County has begun using the software and Safley has just received approval to investigate a state-wide contract. Safley is enthusiastic about the idea, especially since online information can be managed at a district level to ensure it is kept accurate and up to date.
All this advocacy has built a reputation for the teen, who finds she is often recognized by politicians and aides whom she has never met before. “I go to a meeting and they say ‘Do I know you? I swear I’ve seen you before,’ ” says Lauren with a laugh. While in Talahassee, Lauren was informed that Scott is sending her a special letter of commendation for her advocacy efforts.
Younger sister Rachel couldn’t be prouder: “What Lauren is doing is really amazing. I really appreciate all of the support and love she has given me as a big sister.”
Lauren, whose goal is for food allergy awareness to gain greater national prominence, continues to advocate for allergy awareness and education. Perhaps not surprisingly, the go-getter teen sees a possible future in advocacy. “This experience has definitely helped me realize what I’m interested in,” she says. “I really enjoy the thrill of lobbying at the Capitol.”