A Comprehensive Approach
The Mendez Foundation believes strongly in a coordinated, strategic approach to developing a safe and supportive environment that helps establish healthy, violence-free, and drug-free norms. To be truly effective, prevention programs must reach all stakeholders – at school, at home, and throughout the community.
As we developed the Too Good curriculum for students, we also developed training for instructors, activities for parents and caregivers to work through with their children, and events and exercises for administrators, teachers, students, counselors, public servants, parents, and other community members to engage in.
A caring and supportive climate and culture within a school’s administrators and instructors increases the likelihood of student bonding with the school. School staff and faculty play a significant role in establishing and reinforcing positive social and use norms and preventing youth violence and use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
Through our staff training initiative, educators improve their personal and interpersonal skills and are better able to model the skills they seek to instill in their students. Our training shows instructors how to motivate students to adopt positive norms by communicating high expectations, setting clear and consistent boundaries, and correcting misperceptions about actual percentages of students who are involved in or approve of drug use and violence.
Educators who develop these skills will be more likely to establish and maintain the kind of classroom climate which promotes learning in general. Instructors who have participated in the training will be more likely to have students who develop standards and norms of non-use, leading to reduced drug use, and fewer incidents of violence.
Knowledgeable caregivers have enormous potential for strengthening children’s positive attitudes and social and emotional skills. Caregivers exposed to prevention education resources are more likely to reinforce prevention skills and non-use norms, support and participate in school-related activities, and communicate clear standards regarding drug use and violence. Students whose caregivers support the peaceable message and reinforce prevention skills taught at school will be more likely to develop standards and norms of non-use and non-violent living, leading to fewer incidents of substance use and violence.
Throughout the Community
Community-wide prevention strategies create environments that promote healthy choices and discourage problem behaviors. Nationwide community and parent organizations can mobilize to change community attitudes. They can create media campaigns to build awareness about the dangers of substance abuse, and establish community policies to show that drug use and violent behavior are not acceptable. The Mendez Foundation has partnered with numerous organizations to maximize the impact and reach of various programs.