News · May 21, 2015
Wagner was so excited to participate in SAMHSA’s “I Choose” Project for National Prevention Week! As we wrap up a week of spreading messages for prevention, we at the Mendez Foundation reflect on our origins, and we thought it would be fun to share with you a little of our history.
Doing good work for the health and well-being of our children is nothing new for the Mendez Foundation. For more than thirty-five years, we've been developing and implementing prevention education programs K-12 that teach kids they are too good for drugs and violence. Our evidence-based, skill-building programs make a positive impact on the lives of students, teachers, parents, and community leaders nationwide.
Charles E. Mendez established the C. E. Mendez Foundation in 1964 to support local charitable organizations serving underprivileged children and their families living in the Tampa Bay area. Following his death in 1967, Charles E. Mendez’s legacy and the Mendez Foundation were carried on by his family.
In 1975, Charles E. Mendez, Jr., now President of the Foundation, grew concerned with the alarming growth of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use by young people. He refocused the Foundation's efforts to develop and deliver prevention education programs to address these substance abuse problems. To that end, our own Prevention Specialists have been positive role models delivering Too Good for Drugs in Hillsborough County Public Schools since 1980.
The Foundation's programs would be developed with this philosophy in mind: providing children age-appropriate, factual information about the negative health effects of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, combined with development of critical decision making and goal setting skills, delivered by professional educators who are positive role models, will result in better decision-making by our children.
We also put our community stakeholder hats on when we put together fun, free family events like the Too Good for Drugs Walk and Kidfest and the I am Too Good for Drugs Junior Gasparilla Distance Classic events in Tampa. Summertime in Tampa bridges the school years with the Summer Parks program in the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Centers.
Our social emotional learning skills-based prevention programs soon gained national recognition, and our curricula are currently used by over 3,500 school districts, community agencies, and law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.
As prevention educators, we have a professional commitment to the careful development, rigorous testing, and on-going refinement of our programs. As an organization, we have a time honored commitment to ready children for success in school and in their future careers. It's our purpose and our passion.