ACEs Matter Founder
Location: Florida, United States
The founder's lived experiences with adversities started at birth in zip code 79403. In the summer of 2020, Cendie created ACEs Matter in response to what she experienced as an adult. Unaware that her childhood adversities played a role in how she responded to stressors in her career, relationships, and even her own parenting – she realized her life’s mission would be to help spread awareness to others.
Cendie founded ACEs Matter in order to be an advocate for child safety and adult mental health. Blessed by the Holy Spirit, she shares a story of how Most High revealed to her that a young person living in an environment pierced with adversities will ultimately repeat those same patterns unless there is a divine intervention. Having scored a 10 out of 10 on the ACE questionnaire, there wasn’t an adversity that Cendie didn’t experience before age 18.
Both of her parents were born into ACEs and unknowingly in several respects, continued to pass trauma down the bloodline to her and her siblings. As a young person, she witnessed her mother go through several abusive relationships, they moved several times throughout her childhood, and at one point was near homelessness when a domestic violence relationship became too much for her mom to bear. At age 15, she would come home to hear that her oldest brother had been shot multiple times by someone she knew personally. Within days, she would be helping her uncle prepare her beloved brother for his casket and funeral.
By the time Cendie was 12-years old, she had been locked up in a juvenile detention center, witnessed crack-cocaine being dealt from the same home where she slept, and she even learned how to steal and sell high priced clothing for profit. Determined to find out why an environment would expose such a young mind to near death experiences, she has now dedicated her 3rd quarter of life trying to educate and show marginalized communities alternatives to how children are raised in the hood.
Cendie is a “Triple Eagle” scholar, becoming a first generation college graduate to earn two Masters Degrees, one BA Degree, and a business certificate from Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. Cendie serves as a mentor for youth and rising education entrepreneurs. She has also conducted more than 10,000 hours of professional development training over the course of her career.
A Texas native & former public school educator, she is very passionate about empowering Title 1 schools with research backed practices that aid in nurturing the neurons of students and educators that have been affected by adverse experiences. With over a decade of experience working in Title 1 schools, Cendie decided to use her education and business experience to launch a foundation that focuses on the mental health and emotional well being of students and teachers.
Cendie’s experience has taught her that building or revitalizing school culture must start with the superpowers of the adults in the building. Tapping into her network of colleagues in the mental health industry and education sector, she was able to design a unique approach to transforming how schools can scale their SEL implementation programs.