Parents

  • What are You Doing for Red Ribbon Week?

    Morediversekids

    The new school year is in full swing. Children are back in the classroom and teachers are implementing lesson plans. Getting back to school means getting back to learning. Back to school also means Red Ribbon Week is just around the corner.

    Red Ribbon Week is a time for parents, teachers, school counselors, and administrators to encourage children to live healthy, substance-free lives and set positive goals and make good decisions. It is also marks an opportunity to celebrate and thank those who work so hard to keep our communities drug-free.

    With the opioid epidemic affecting communities across the country, we need to be reminded how we all must set and reinforce healthy substance-free norms for our children and families. The message of Red Ribbon Week can bring everyone together to take a stand against drug abuse.

    Bring the whole school together with our Celebrating Healthy Choices activity set to introduce essential social skills for each grade level K-5. Kick off the week with a whole school assembly with guest speakers from your community and a call to action for a whole school connectedness. Then, back in the classroom, each grade level will dive into a social skill with three 20-minute daily activities. At the end of the week, bring it all together at a closing assembly when the students can show off what they have learned to the entire school and invited friends and family.

    So let’s get ready and help our kids show they are too good for drugs! October will be here before you know it. Don’t let the opportunity to be a positive influence for kids pass by. Celebrate Red Ribbon Week and celebrate making healthy choices!

    Red Ribbon Week is October 23 - 31, 2017.

  • Back to School: Gearing Up for Resiliency And Readiness to Learn

    Back-to-school time is here!  Children across the country are headed back to the classroom and moving another step forward in their education and development.  Now is the perfect time for teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents to reinforce social emotional learning skills in kids.  Here are a few of our thoughts to help you maintain the back-to-school momentum throughout the school year and keep kids motivated.

    Make it cross-curricular. Social skill development doesn’t have to stay in your Too Good lessons.  Looking for More? lesson extenders provide great opportunities to infuse the social skills development concepts into other subject areas.  They could be that quick activity idea to fill a few free moments in your Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, and Science lessons.  Have you ever thought about the science of erupting emotions?  How about the mathematics behind determining consequences?  Regular journaling builds vocabulary and writing skills while providing opportunities to reflect on peer pressure refusal skills and positive peer selection skills.  These skills make children better learners and give them greater ability to interact with others, so keep the learning growing in every subject.

    Involve parents and caregivers. Parental involvement is essential to any child’s healthy development. Activities like Too Good’s Home Workouts bring the learning home to keep parents and caregivers tuned in to what their child is learning and help them practice and reinforce the concepts at home.  Whether it is setting family goals or finding constructive solutions to completing chores around the house, these family activities extend the reach of what is learned in school.  Invite parents and caregivers to write a newsletter articles about how she or he is positively reinforcing SEL skills at home.  Bring parents into the classroom to help facilitate your Too Good lessons and enhance the bond between school and home for your students. The more parents are in tune with what is happening at school, the more your students will engage.

    Promote community connectedness. Social skills are about more than just children interacting with one another. When families and communities are involved in developing these skills in children, they are twice as likely to use and retain them. To promote community connectedness, enlist participation and cooperation from family members, community leaders, school board members and medical professionals. Enlist the media to advocate prevention. Establish a community-wide task force. The Too Good for Drugs and Violence After School Activities offer tools tailored specifically towards enhancing prevention in recreation centers and community after school settings. This means that there are plenty of opportunities to enlist as many community members as possible for the benefit of that communities' children.

    So get ready! A new school year means a fresh start, and there’s no better way to kick off a fun year of learning than to help young learners practice the social skills they will need to succeed as they continue in school and later in life.

  • Using Social-Emotional Learning and Prevention Education Skills during the Summer

    It’s hard to believe, but summer is almost half over. While children and teens are still on vacation for the next several weeks, parents may be concerned about how their kids are preparing for going back to school. While there are ways to combat academic summer learning loss, what can be done to maintain the social-emotional learning skills that many children gained during the school year? How can children continue to practice these skills even when they are away from the classroom for an extended period?

    A growing body of research is driving interest in social-emotional learning as an essential component of student success. Without skills like the ability to manage stress, to empathize with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and to engage successfully in the small-group work required for deeper learning, students cannot be successful.

    The Mendez Foundation is committed year-round to ensuring children grades K-12 are equipped with and building and maintaining skills that go beyond subject-matter knowledge in English, math, and science. Our Too Good programs provide a framework of social and emotional skills that develop goal-setting, decision-making, and effective communication skills. Too Good also builds additional skills for peer pressure refusal, pro-social bonding, conflict resolution, and media literacy. However, practicing these critical skills may not be top of mind for children and teens during summer vacation.

    There are, however, a few creative ways kids can continue to practice the skills they learned during the school year including:

    Goal Setting

    Set a goal to wake up earlier than usual in the morning during the summer to work on a project or hobby.

    Make a plan to read a certain number of books during the summer months.

    Decision Making

    Contribute ideas to where your family will visit for summer vacation this year.

    Take the initiative on what movie to see with your friends.

    Express Yourself

    Keep a journal of all the fun and exciting things you do over the summer.

    Talk honestly to an older sibling about how you feel about them going away to college or a different school in the fall.

    Bonding and Relationships

    Try a summer activity with your friends that you have never done before.

    Use peer pressure refusal strategies in situations where you feel uncomfortable.

    Summer is a great time for children and teens to practice the skills gained through social-emotional learning and prevention education outside of the classroom. The Mendez Foundation encourages children, teens, parents, and families to utilize these skills on a regular basis to ensure a fun and safe summer season. This way, children can continue to make healthy, risk-free choices and stay on the path to a more positive and brighter future.

  • National Safety Month – Safety in Many Forms

    June marks the official start to summer and National Safety month. It’s a great time to spread awareness and ensure safer environments that can improve students’ social-emotional learning and behavior.

    There are different types of safety to consider for children. Below are some suggestions for children and adults to consider this summer, and to remember as they head back to school in the fall.

    Emotional Safety: Young people excel in an environment that nurtures healthy relationships with their peers and when they have positive role models in their lives who set examples of appropriate behavior, healthy attitudes, and positive emotional response. Whether it is a parent, a teacher, a counselor, or a coach, our youth need adult figures they can reach out to in times of need.

    Peer groups also matter. Young people who are part of a group that values respect for themselves and others are less likely to be bullied and less likely to bully others. Students who can identify and bond with positive peer groups who are positive influences make better, more responsible decisions.

    Physical Safety: Supervision and clear communication about maintaining boundaries while in and out of school promotes safe environments in places like classrooms, hallways, lunch rooms, and outdoor areas. Youth who are self- and socially aware and equipped to resolve disputes peacefully are less likely to engage in physical confrontations with others and are more likely to de-escalate conflicts when they arise. Learning environments that emphasize and encourage more peaceful approaches, such as compromise or agreeing to disagree, encourage children to practice resolving differences and respect others despite those differences.

    A great resource for more information on staying safe from physical harm is the National Safety Council (NSC) website. Throughout June, the NSC will be sharing tools and topics ranging from First Aid training to teen driving. Be sure to visit them at nsc.org.

    Academic Safety: The student bond with school is a strong protective factor that encourages children to interact with each other and their teacher as they learn, motivating them to work hard to reach their goals and resist risky behavior. Students need a safe and supportive learning environment that encourages them to try and to risk failure so they can learn from their mistakes.

    As advocates for student learning, teachers, counselors, and parents are in a prime position to create and promote a safe and supportive learning environment that encourages students to challenge themselves to learn. Having high expectations of the students is a big part of this supportive environment. Students who know that the adults in their lives are invested in them and expect them to perform will work harder to meet that expectation.

    The more committed we all are in the health and safety of our youth during National Safety Month and beyond, the stronger our community will be. Be sure to show your commitment by visiting toogoodprograms.org to stay on top of what the Mendez Foundation is doing to ensure the safety and healthy growth of our kids through prevention education.

  • The Countdown to Red Ribbon Week Begins!

     

    Group Of Children Enjoying Drama Class Together

     

    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!

  • Introducing Too Good for Drugs High School Revised

    AHS3901 TGFD Binder cover for web 1-16 look at any reputable study on current alcohol and drug use among youth will bring no surprise; substance use is still prevalent among teens. As children enter their teen years, they face increasingly complex challenges and influences. According to a survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 60 percent of high school students, at both public and private schools, reported drug-infected campuses. Such statistics make prevention efforts more relevant than ever.

    This week, individuals from across the nation will convene in Washington D.C. for CADCA’s 26th Annual National Leadership Forum and SAMHSA’s 12th Annual Prevention Day. Coalition leaders, prevention specialists, public health professionals, parents, and youth will join together to address the essential part prevention plays in keeping our youth substance-free.

    And on this auspicious occasion we announce with excitement our latest prevention effort: the forthcoming release of our revised Too Good for Drugs High School curriculum. The revised curriculum builds social emotional competency through fun and age appropriate lessons that foster self-awareness and social-awareness. With the help of educators, counselors, and prevention specialists, our evidence-based curriculum equips teens with the skills they need to resist negative influence that may lead to substance use, as well as prepares them for academic success that will carry over into their college and professional careers.

    Sign up today to receive program updates and news!

  • The Benefits of Responsible Decision Making

     

    Young girl in glasses, looking up

    "The time is always right to do what is right."
    - Martin Luther King Jr.

    As children grow, they face ever evolving challenges that require them to make increasingly complex decisions. For a kindergartner, this might be deciding to share a toy. For a senior in high school, this could be recognizing negative peer influence and incorporating that knowledge into their decision making. Learning to consider the positive and negative consequences of a decision is essential at any of these stages, and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) identifies responsible decision making as one of the five pillars of social emotional learning. CASEL states that decision making skills can help children negotiate the following:

    Ethical Standards: By being challenged to make decisions, children evaluate and develop ethical standards that influence character building.

    Social Norms: Decision making skills that incorporate positive social norms as an influence help children navigate the difficulties of adolescence and resist peer pressure and peer influence.

    Consequences: Children with strong decision making skills can evaluate potential consequences of actions in order to determine what choice is the best option.

    By developing responsible decision making skills early on, children are prepared to face the real world challenges that will impact the course of their lives. And with those responsible decision making skills in place, children are equipped to lead happy and prosperous lives.

  • Volunteerism Encourages Social Emotional Learning

    Hands Holding VolunteerThe Holiday season is a time to be grateful for the many blessings we have in our lives. It is also a time we can help make the lives of others better. A report on National Public Radio states one in five families with children will go without enough food during the holiday season. Families, schools, and communities have an opportunity to address these needs by volunteering locally and by donating toys, food, and other goods. Children who volunteer become more aware of their own lives in relation to the lives of others. Volunteering also offers children the opportunity to develop and apply key social emotional skills.

    Social Awareness: Children exposed to and aware of the diverse backgrounds of others learn how to interact with others with respect, empathy, and open-mindedness.

    Responsible Decision-Making: Volunteering teaches children to make respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions in situations they may not have otherwise encountered.

    Relationship Skills: By listening to and interacting with the experiences of others, children learn to communicate clearly, listen actively, and respond to the needs of others.

    Social emotional skills are essential for academic, personal, and professional success. Through volunteering, children have the opportunity to better the lives of those around them and to develop skills that will lead them to lifelong success.

    All of us at the Mendez Foundation wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

  • Building School Connectedness

    Teacher Standing in Front of a Class of Raised HandsThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocate school connectedness as an essential ingredient to buffer youth against engaging in risky behaviors such as tobacco, alcohol, and drug use or aggressive and violent behavior. Students who feel connected to their schools stake a claim in their learning and are therefore more likely to make healthy choices and stay on a path toward academic success. Schools, families, and communities must work together to create a caring and supportive environment for students.

    Adult Support: Parent engagement encourages positive student behavior and academic success. Schools can engage families to take part in their child’s education through interactive take-home activities or newsletters.

    Belonging to a Positive Peer Group: Students with strong social emotional skills are better equipped for positive peer bonding. Students are faced with the challenge of selecting their friends, and strong decision-making skills will help them choose positive peer groups.

    Commitment to Education: Students who have an active interest in their education are more persistent in succeeding academically. Participatory learning enhances students’ commitment to their education by keeping them interested and engaged.

    School Environment: A caring and supportive school environment fosters student learning. Students who feel they are valued are more comfortable and therefore more willing to take healthy risks as they try and learn.

    Students who are actively connected with their schools develop positive behaviors that reinforce their decisions to avoid risky behaviors and to set positive short and long term goals.  Strong social emotional skills, coupled with a supportive school climate and caring adult involvement, foster in students the resiliency they need to meet the challenges they face in childhood, adolescence, and beyond into adulthood.

  • Four Attributes of Empathy

    Puzzle pieces cute-478945508Empathy is an essential trait that aids meaningful connection with others in both our personal life and work life. Instilling empathy as a norm for children at an early age promotes the development of good character necessary in the complex social environments in education and the workplace. Numerous articles highlight and explore ways to recognize and cultivate empathy in both children and adults. One such article by Theresa Wiseman published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing is “A Concept Analysis of Empathy.” Wiseman takes a practical exploration of the mechanics of empathy and its development.

    I would walk a mile in your shoes. The first step to developing empathy for other people is to see things from another’s perspective.

    Hey! No judgement here. Once we adopt another’s point of view, we must reserve negative judgment.

    No hidden agenda. Staying as neutral as possible, we can then gain an understanding of how another feels.

    I feel you. The final step to developing empathy is to communicate the understanding we have gained. In this way, the circle of empathy is reciprocated and barriers are dissolved.

    Empathy requires two fundamental social emotional components: understanding emotions and applying effective communication. The development of these skills from a young age establishes an intrinsic capacity to connect with peers. We can encourage children along the path toward empathy by helping them identify their emotions and to recognize those emotions in others. Furthermore, children who build effective communication skills are able to have an open dialogue about their emotions and the emotions they identify in others. Ultimately it is in the affirmation of one another’s emotions that we truly connect.

  1. Page:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4