MY ACE story
Born Unequal - 1977
The founder's lived experiences with adversities started at birth in zip code 79403.
In the summer of 2020, Cendie Stanford 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.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
“It has only been by the grace of God that I am still alive to not only share my story, but to help others see they are not alone and that life does not have to start or end this way.”
Cendie is now 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 communities and schools with research backed practices that aid in nurturing the neurons of students, parents, and educators that have been affected by ACEs.
With over a decade of experience working in Title 1 schools, Cendie is able to bridge her lived story, teaching, and training experiences into a core model designed to meet the needs of those living in marginalized communities.
Cendie’s experience has taught her that building or revitalizing communities starts with one Zip Code Hero at a time.
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 and communities can scale their SEL and trauma informed implementation programs.
When Cendie is away from her life’s mission, you can usually find her reading, traveling, playing tennis, or supporting her daughter’s passion.