Too Good Today

Prevention Education News and Information

  • National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit - Strength Through Community

    Atlanta was host city to the 6th annual National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit this week. Realizing the importance of collaboration, the C.E. Mendez Foundation was proud to exhibit along with education providers, treatment and recovery centers and other organizations in the field. What we found was a strengthened, hopeful community of over 2,000 attendees ready to reinforce solutions to the current opioid and prescription drug epidemic.

    The National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit is the largest national collaboration of federal, state and local professionals that seek to address prescription drug and opioid abuse and misuse. This year, several of the nation’s top researchers, medical professionals, and law enforcement agents participated in the Summit. Officials from several communities, including education, medicine and government met, connected, and gained a clearer understanding of what needs to be done to help those suffering from addiction.

    Through a focused three-day agenda of vision sessions, breakout discussions, speeches and panels, attendees of this year’s summit were exposed to expert opinions and new ideas from conference speakers including former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, United States Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., and Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas E. Price, M.D.

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    Nancy Hale, President/CEO of Operation UNITE, educational adviser to the 2017 Summit and a session moderator, believes that a multi-faceted approach is needed. "All…approaches -- from prevention and education to law enforcement to treatment - must be utilized together so we can protect and save our families and communities.” And the summit is already leading to a greater response, as Price announced on Wednesday that the federal government will provide states with $485 million in grant money for prevention and treatment programs aimed at confronting the opioid epidemic.

    With the increase in opioid use, the Mendez Foundation maintains a serious commitment to communities throughout our country to work with schools, after-school programs, law enforcement, and nonprofit organizations that seek solutions to this pressing issue. Our Too Good for Drugs substance abuse prevention programs are designed to help all children, beginning in Kindergarten, with positive youth development and drug-free living.

    We are proud to have been part of such a worthy cause for the second year in a row that has garnered a movement of this size and strength. We thank the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit for including the Mendez Foundation and we look forward to participating in 2018.

  • National Stress Awareness Month - Helping Our Teens Cope

    It’s April! Spring has officially sprung and National Stress Awareness Month is in full swing.

    So let’s talk about stress. As we all know, a little stress can be helpful in certain situations.  For example, when you’re competing in a contest, it’s okay to push yourself to do your best.  In this way, stress can motivate you to rise to the challenge. However, too much stress can negatively impact you mentally and physically.  That’s why it’s helpful to know how to deal with stressful situations.

    Communicating and managing stress can be difficult for teens. Teens feel academic, social, and work stress. A 2015 article published in Psychology Today and written by Sara Villanueva, Ph.D. and associate professor of psychology at St. Edwards University in Austin, TX, cites numerous factors that can contribute to teen stress. Among them are academic pressures, familial expectations, and keeping up with the fast-paced world of social media. Add in the aspects of self-discovery and the seeking of autonomy, and today’s teens are likely having a more difficult time with stress than we all first thought.

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    The good news is that Too Good has you covered.  This May, we are launching the revised edition of Too Good for Violence – Social Perspectives for High School.  Program objectives include preparing teens with stress management strategies to deal with change, conflict, and difficult situations and identifying the physical, emotional, and health related signs and symptoms of stress.

    With a series of lessons and activities promoting empathy, self-discipline, honesty, respect, and perseverance, TGFV equips teens with the coping strategies they need to increase emotional self-awareness and live their best lives.

    The more you practice managing stress, the more resilient you will be and the more confident you will be to try new things.

  • Youth Violence Prevention - A Community Effort

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    Today wraps up National Youth Violence Prevention Week, sponsored by The National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE).  The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness and to educate students, teachers, administrators, counselors, resource officers, parents, and the public on effective ways to prevent or reduce youth violence. Bullying is only one form of school violence and districts across the country are reporting a rise in the number of bullying incidents.

    Maryland’s Public School System, for example, recently released its annual report, “Bullying, Harassment & Intimidation in Maryland Public Schools.” It showed that 12-year-old children are the most likely to be victimized and are the most likely to bully. During the 2015-2016 school year, Maryland saw an increase in bullying compared to the previous year, with 45% of incidents involving a physical attack.

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    The increasing trend in bullying is likely to be the same across much of the country, highlighting the need for youth organizations, nonprofits, school systems, teachers and parents to take an active approach to reduce youth violence in schools.  Our Too Good for Violence – Social Perspective program for grades K-12 promotes character development by strengthening character traits to help reduce the incidence of bullying in schools.  This evidence-based social emotional learning curricula can be implemented at any time to help develop the following social skills linked with healthy growth and academic success:

    Conflict Resolution

    Anger Management

    Respect for Self and Others

    Effective Communication

    Responsible Decision Making

    Goal Setting

    Friendship

    Get started today by clicking  HERE.

    Photo care of American Conference on Diversity.

  • Promoting SEL with Games

    C5XLTUVVcAQh-0JLast week, the Too Good team packed our bags and headed to the NASP conference in San Antonio, Texas.  We spoke with school psychologists and graduate students from across the country to learn more about emerging trends in the field.

    So what did we hear?  One major focus is measuring social-emotional skill development through game-based learning.  Games are a powerful way to develop social-emotional skills in children and adolescents.  The SEL skills necessary to play well with others are the same skills needed to succeed at work and in adult life.

    Experience-based learning tools like games teach and reinforce SEL skills, such as cooperation, problem solving, emotion management, and communication.  Games also provide a safe, fun environment to simulate obstacles and teach resilience.

    Tips and Tools to Get Started

    When facilitating a game, make sure to model positive behavior and make learning connections for students.  Focus on cooperation over competition, and after the game, ask students to reflect on what they learned.

    The Too Good toolkits incorporate games designed to balance engagement, assessment, and learning.  If you’re interested in implementing game-based learning, check out these fun and interactive games:

    Ages 9-11:

    Pop Up!:  This card game teaches respect for others, perspective-taking, empathy and solving problems.

    Around the Block:  This fun and engaging board game teaches decision making, goal-setting, teamwork, self confidence and communication.

    Ages 12-14

    Anger Outlet:  Students test their anger management and conflict resolution skills through a variety of scenarios. This board game teaches students how to identify emotions, impulse control, stress management and decision making.

    The Buddy System: Students learn positive friendship qualities in the Buddy System Jr. card game.  This games teaches relationship building, social engagement. respect for others and communication skills.

    Ages 15-18

    Deciding Factor:  Deciding Factor gives students the opportunity to learn the role different influences have on their decision making. Players must differentiate and categorize influences such as media, values, and family.

    Quality Assurance:  In the Quality Assurance card game, students are faced with scenarios to practice healthy relationship qualities and teaches relationship building, social engagement, decision making and analyzing situations.

  • Another Successful Too Good for Drugs Jr. Gasparilla Distance Classic

    download_20170220_085629The Mendez Foundation was thrilled to once again sponsor the Publix Too Good for Drugs Jr. Gasparilla Distance Classic held annually in Tampa, Florida. Held prior to the nationally-recognized Gasparilla Distance Classic, the event brings children of all ages together to take part in a day of activities and exercise that promote healthy, happy behaviors. Ranging in distances from 30 yards to one mile, children aged 2-10 took to the track at Thomas Jefferson High School.

    Our prevention specialists in Tampa make it a point to join in on the fun every year and cheer on the children as they make a dash for the finish line. Our friends Carmen and Wagner, the mascots for the Too Good for Drugs elementary school programs, also had the opportunity to drop by and root on the participants and assist with arts and crafts.

    This annual event is a wonderful way to remind children the importance of learning how positive behaviors and healthy choices can give them the tools they need to know that they are Too Good for Drugs. We looking forward to taking part in next year’s event and hope you can join us in Tampa in 2018!

  • The Power of Teachers to Address the Opioid Epidemic

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    According to the Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, Health, prescription drug misuse is a major public health challenge and a priority for our nation. In response, schools and community organizations are taking a proactive approach to help children and teens lead healthy and productive lives and stay substance-free. As Josh Cornfield of the Associated Press reports in Schools Reach Beyond 'Just Say No' On Opioid Dangers, many teachers are now addressing this topic with students as young as kindergarten.

    Linda Richter, Director of Policy Research and Analysis for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, recommends that schools rely on rigorously evaluated and proven prevention programs, like the Mendez Foundation's Too Good for Drugs.

    The evidence-based Too Good for Drugs program is designed to empower students grades K-12 with the skills they need to make healthy choices, build positive friendships, resist negative peer pressure, and ultimately avoid drug use. More specifically, lessons on understanding the negative health effects related to prescription drug misuse are available in the following grades:

     

    To learn more about Too Good for Drugs, and how you can prevent substance misuse, click here.

  • The Countdown to Red Ribbon Week Begins!

     

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    Can you feel the excitement in the air?  Red Ribbon Week is almost here!  During October 23rd - 31st, schools and communities across the country will celebrate living a substance-free lifestyle.  Here are some fun ideas for making the most of Red Ribbon Week in your schools and communities!

     

     

    Monday: Goal for It! Talk to your students about how substance-use interferes with reaching their goals. Students can name a short-term goal they’d like to reach by the end of the week.  Display the Goal Setting Poster in your classroom to help your students track their progress.

    Tuesday: Brain Science!  Talk with students about the negative effects of substance-use on the developing brain and body and how they can protect their bodies as they grow.  Hold a short essay writing contest for students to choose and research one negative effect of substance-use on the brain or body.

    Wednesday: Bring it Home!  Parents and caregiver influence is essential to helping students stay substance-free.  Home Workouts provide great opportunities for students to share with their parents what they are learning about substance-free living.  Choose one from your Too Good toolkit to send home with students or design your own.

    Thursday: Around Town!  Students who live substance-free are positive role models in their communities.  Red Ribbon Week is a great time to encourage students to volunteer in their communities and help others see how passionate they are about making healthy decisions.

    Friday: Happy, Healthy, and Strong!  A big part of being a good friend is being a positive influence.  Students can sign a cutout handprint to put on the classroom door in a pledge to a substance-free lifestyle that will illustrate pro-social bonding.

    Looking for more?  Check out Celebrating Healthy Choices!  This one-week activity set for Grades K-5 introduces the fundamentals of social-emotional skills while building school connectedness.  Kits include everything you need to organize your school-wide events: plans and scripts for opening and closing assemblies, fully scripted fun and engaging activities, and so much more!

    However you choose to celebrate, here’s wishing you a fun and inspiring week!  Let the countdown begin!

  • 3 Tips for a Positive Schoolyear

    board-928378_640Back-to-school is the most exciting time of the year!  Crisp, cool fall air and new school supplies get things off to a great start.  But why stop there?  Here are a few ways you can use your Too Good toolkit to keep up the positive momentum throughout the schoolyear.

    Make it schoolwide.  Schoolwide involvement keeps everyone engaged and on board with building social-emotional skills that will contribute to students’ success in school and life.  A learning environment that expects and reinforces positive behavior will lead children to practice positive behavior.  Lesson Extenders at the end of each Too Good lesson are designed to foster school connectedness, and provide practical ways to get the whole school involved.  Use these activities to set class goals and school goals, or to help out in the community.     

    Involve parents and caregivers.  Parent involvement is essential to implementation success.  The Home Workouts included with each Too Good lesson keep parents and caregivers tuned in to what their child is learning, and help them practice and reinforce the skills at home.  Keep families involved by inviting a parent or caregiver to write a newsletter article about how she or he is positively reinforcing SEL skills at home.

    Build on the last year.  Are teachers in earlier grades also implementing Too Good in their classrooms?  Brainstorm with them to find out what worked in their previous year’s implementation.  Each grade level of the Too Good program reinforces and builds on the core concepts and skills.  Practicing SEL skills daily sets students up for success and provides them with the skills to handle challenging and uncomfortable situations in healthy ways.

    So get ready!  A new school year means new beginnings, and there’s no better way to kick off a fun year of learning than to pick up your Too Good toolkit and start using it today.

  • How will you celebrate Red Ribbon Week?

    Group Of Children Enjoying Drama Class TogetherSchool is back in session, and summer is winding down. It won’t be long before the first nip of fall will be in the air, which means October and Red Ribbon Week are just around the corner. This October 23-31, youth will celebrate substance-free living with this year’s Red Ribbon Week slogan “YOLO. Be Drug Free.”
    It is common for youth to perceive drug-use as normal, but in actuality most youth do not use drugs or alcohol. And when kids say or hear “YOLO” this is the exact reason why. Our kids know they only have one chance at life, and rather than risking it on drugs and alcohol, they embrace healthy activities.

    How will your school or organization choose to raise awareness for living healthy, substance-free lives? Red Ribbon Week is the perfect time for Celebrating Healthy Choices. This one-week activity set helps you make the most of special school-wide events for your Kindergarten through Grade 5 students. Everything you need to organize your school-wide event, including plans and scripts for opening and closing assemblies, as well as fully scripted fun and engaging activities, is provided in straightforward kits. Activities include songs, raps, and puppet play that teach students the social emotional skills they need to make healthy choices. Students learn rap lyrics and get a chance to perform them at a school-wide performance. Celebrating Healthy Choices is a fun way to bring everyone together to foster a healthier school climate and celebrate a good cause.

    YOLO. So make healthy choices and stay drug free.

  • Big news from the Big Easy!

    Elementary school teacher helping pupilSchool may be out, but we’re not on vacation yet. You can find us in the Big Easy July 9th-11th, as this year we are proud sponsors of the ASCAFE at the American School Counselor Association Conference in New Orleans.  Come on out and meet us for coffee or visit us at Booth 225 for a quick chat.  While you are with us, enter to win a free curriculum kit of your choice.  And on this notable occasion, we are excited to announce our upcoming release of the revised editions of Too Good for Violence-Social Perspectives for Grade 4, Grade 5, and High School!  The revised curricula build social emotional skills in children and teens for self-awareness and social awareness, protective factors essential to promoting peaceful peer engagement and mitigating risky behavior.  Fun and engaging activities in the curricula teach children and teens how to manage their emotions, resolve conflicts peacefully, manage bullying situations, and so much more.

    In our efforts to provide children with effective prevention education, where would we be without our school counselors?  Indeed, few people know a school and its students better than school counselors do. Their dedication to improving students’ lives shows not only their commitment to student success but also to ensuring their students are equipped with the skills necessary for success in life.  Efforts to building social emotional competencies encourage students to develop a better understanding of their lives and be more present in the world around them.

    Equipped with these skills, children are prepared to resist negative peer influence, engage in pro-social bonding, and make positive decisions that will help keep them on track to reaching their goals.  As mentors and educators, school counselors bring prevention efforts full circle; they truly guide children toward their happiest and healthiest selves.  So let’s give a shout-out to all our school counselors and the impact they have on their students’ lives and their school environment.

    We look forward to seeing you at the conference this week!

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