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“We know that Box Tops believes that a child’s education is the foundation to achieving their fullest potential,” says Rachel Letsche, assistant manager of Brand Experience at Yoplait, “so we thought that by coming together, we could help schools and parents both teach and raise ‘good little humans’.”

Photo courtesy of Yoplait

In recognition of his extraordinary dedication, Yoplait and Box Tops recently surprised Mendez by paying for every item on his Amazon teacher wishlist, including a tent, chairs, two portable basketball hoops as well as colorful bands, balls and cones.They also presented Mendez with $10,000 in Box Tops for his school to develop and support more programs like STOKED, along with a note praising his efforts:

Dear Mr. Mendez,

Your passion for physical fitness has inspired hundreds of View Park students to lead healthier lives! You’ve used your own story to relate to and mentor students who need it most. You’ve used your passion to help bring new and interesting sports like Skateboarding, Surfing and Snowboarding to your school.

Your dedication to your work leaves little free time, yet you still spend your weekends coaching youth soccer. Your influence will continue to change the world and lives for years to come.

As a thank you for being a role model in the classroom, Box Tops for Education has purchased every item on your wishlist and is giving ICEF View Park Middle School $10,000 that can be used toward bringing even more incredible programs to your students.


Thank you, Mr. Mendez!


Sincerely,
Yoplait & The Box Tops for Education Team

The award is particularly meaningful for Mendez as securing funding at a Title 1 school can be difficult.

“In order to provide these opportunities for students at no cost, the athletic director and I work on the funding, getting grants, and making sure that the students don’t have to put any of their own money,” Mendez explains.

“Funding has continued to be a challenge just in order for me to have the equipment here at the school. Writing the grants is very time consuming. Applying for certain scholarships has been a challenge.”

Over the past 25 years, nearly $1 billion in Box Tops has gone to K-8 schools in the US. As part of General Mills’ commitment to advance equity in education, Box Tops now has a renewed focus to help the students in schools where support is most needed.

Within the Box Tops app, shoppers can now use the search feature to find and select Schools in Need to receive funding from purchases of Box Top products. This back-to-school season, in addition to Mendez’s school, Box Tops and Yoplait also donated $10,000 in Box Tops to another School in Need, Jefferson Elementary in Lennox, California.

Mendez is no stranger to the financial realities his students face, having grown up in a poor family himself. His own middle class P.E. teacher would waive his fees for cross country running competitions, which enabled him to participate in a sport he loved. Mendez credits that teacher with helping him come out of his shell and build confidence, something that Mendez now tries to do with his own students. The key, he’s learned, is opening up to them about his own life and his own challenges, which helps them relate to him and feel comfortable opening up to him.

All of these accomplishments are quite extraordinary for a man who didn’t even intend to become a teacher. When Mendez started college, his goal was to become an athletic trainer for professional athletes. But as he advanced in his studies, he realized that his true passion was working with student athletes, helping them develop their skills and talents, and trying to make a positive impact in their lives.

Mission accomplished, Mr. Mendez. Thank you for being a shining example, not only for your students, but for the rest of us as well.

For more information on how to help schools in need, download the Box Tops app today.

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