SafeLaunch is dedicated to preventing young people from incurring brain damage or possible addiction caused by adolescent alcohol, tobacco, or drug use because the adolescent brain is up to 600% more susceptible to addiction than one that is fully developed.
Adolescent substance use poses a serious physical and mental health threat. The main risks include brain damage or addiction, lowered academic achievement, lost potential, and damaged relationships. Because brains never fully recover from the disease of addiction, an addicted person remains in recovery for life. Statistically, only one out of ten addicts maintain sobriety over the course of their lives.
SafeLaunch is a youth-centric, apolitical organization focused on protecting our youth to increase the probability that all people will reach their highest potential. We embrace current scientific evidence, rather than morality or politics, to educate adolescents and adults about the human brain. Prevention is an underfunded imperative requiring action because addiction isn’t a choice.
SafeLaunch was established as an initiative under the Freestyle Foundation in September 2010. The Freestyle Foundation fosters, promotes and advances substance-free living initiatives, nationwide.
Founding Board of Directors
Ron Cuff is a father and a retired Navy officer living in Paso Robles, California. He served as a primary U.S. Navy flight instructor, earning the designation of Aircraft Commander on four different types of Navy aircraft, logged 120 arrested landings on seven U.S. aircraft carriers, and was a Test Pilot for the Pacific Missile Test Center. As a Naval Reservist he served as the Commanding Officer of his Naval Air Reserve unit, and simultaneously served as Deputy Director for the Navy and Marine Corps nationwide Campaign Drug Free. Ron holds a master’s degree in Business Administration. He is the past president of the San Luis Obispo Child Abuse Prevention Council. Ron has written and produced several public service announcements on the topics of responsible parenting and child abuse prevention. Ron’s intent is to affect a major sea change in the culture of adolescent addictive substance abuse that is damaging our national defense capability, is a breeding ground for lifelong addiction, and hinders every student’s ability to learn well and achieve success.
Mari Mender R.N. has been a resident of Santa Barbara since 2000. She and her husband Dan are the parents of 5 children. While attending Arizona State University College of Nursing she began her work with the mentally ill and chemically dependent population. She graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Nursing, and for the past 18 years has continued to work in psychiatry and mental health nursing, most recently at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. She is a credentialed Medical Life Coach with emphasis on mental health clients. Mari is chair of the nominating committee for Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center and a past member of the Board of Directors. She has recently joined the Board of Directors for the Santa Barbara High School Education Foundation. Her intent is to prevent drug abuse in our youth through education, information, and creativity. She believes that positive, relevant media messaging for teens by teens is an innovative new approach to combating the plaque of addiction that threatens our youth and can ruin their futures.
Janet Rowse is a longtime resident of Santa Barbara. She and her husband have two adult children and have owned the Paradise Cafe since 1983. She served on the board of directors for the Santa Barbara High School Education Foundation, and was a consistent voice on elementary, secondary, and GATE parent advisory committees in the Santa Barbara Unified School District for 14 years. Janet is an advisor to the Santa Barbara County Service Learning Initiative and is a National Charity League sustaining member. With a degree in art from UCSB, she understands the value of the media to raise public awareness. Harnessing the creative abilities within the local community and within herself, her intent is to protect children’s health and future success by raising public awareness of the fact that a developing brain is up to six times more susceptible to addiction than is a brain at maturity.
Board of Advisors
Superintendent, Carpinteria Unified School District
Dr. Joseph Frawley, MD
Co-Founder, Recovery Road Medical Center
Parent Advocate, Spokesperson
Rolf Geyling, MDiv
President, Santa Barbara Rescue Mission
CEO, Mission Ridge Capital
Founding Board President, Notes for Notes
Founder and Chair, Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative
President, American Riviera Television
Mari Mender, RN
Owner, Guardian Care Providers, Prudential Realtor
Dr. Robert M. Nagy, MD
President, Timothy Regler Consulting, Inc.
Owner, Paradise Cafe
Santa Barbara City Council member
J. Brian Sarvis, Ed.D.
Superintendent Santa Barbara School Districts, Retired
Vice President, Wynmark Company
Michael Schmidtchen, C.P.A.
Sharon Wilcox, MA CCC
Independent Marketing and Advertising Professional
Safe Launch is an Initiative of the Freestyle Foundation. Tax ID: 20-2482760