About BrainAbouts

Empowering Positive Choices & Developing Healthy Brains

The best time to educate young people about high-risk behaviors, like alcohol and drug use, is before they are ever faced with the choice to engage in activities. Backed by neuroscience and powered by the John Fontaine, Jr. Charity, BrainAbouts helps students, caregivers, and school faculty learn about and openly address these difficult topics as a team.

Reach out to learn more about bringing BrainAbouts to your school!

The BrainAbouts Model

Systemic Illustration
It takes a village to raise a child, and we believe it also takes one to support healthy decisions. BrainAbouts empowers students, caregivers, and faculty members to build that village and openly approach uncomfortable issues as a united team.
BrainAbouts is designed to meet students where they are with age-appropriate curriculum, multiple learning modalities, and SEL skills that support a young person's decision to not engage in high-risk behaviors or to seek help to stop.
BrainAbouts is designed to train the brain by focusing on building executive function skills early for strong, empowered decision-making in the future. Brain-based prevention education focuses on how a variety of high-risk behavior affects neurodevelopment, which encourages youth to protect their most valuable asset.
With one-and-done prevention presentations, students may not retain the information to apply when they need it the most. BrainAbouts makes it easier for counselors and parents to achieve long-term effects by consistently engaging students year-round with the help of activity calendars and easy-to-apply resources-key factors in successful prevention programming.
Tailored to School Culture
BrainAbouts allows the school or the individual user to hone in on immediate needs or explore topics and skills. Data from annual school surveys assist in identifying needs and priorities for that year, as the school culture evolves. This flexible approach means that the resources are adaptable to unique individual and school needs.
As a program of the John Fontaine, Jr. Charity (JFJC), BrainAbouts will always be available to schools and districts at a very affordable rate. To reach as many students as possible, the program's annual subscription fee is subsidized by JFJC's generous donors and partners.

Meet the BrainAbouts Team

John T. (Jack) and Nancy C. Fontaine
John T. (Jack) and Nancy C. Fontaine
President & Founder, John Fontaine, Jr. Charity
No one knew John, Jr. better than his parents. For 16 years, Jack and Nancy Fontaine watched their firstborn child become a smart, funny, and ambitious young man. His sudden passing was an overwhelming shock that turned their world upside down. To make sure other parents never have to experience the same nightmare, they created a way to honor John’s legacy and help others

Jack and Nancy founded the John Fontaine, Jr. Center for Alcohol Awareness and Education at the University of Georgia in 2006. Ten years later, they created the John Fontaine, Jr. Charity to develop and support early prevention and intervention programs for secondary school students.

Jack and Nancy met and married in 1981. They’ve brought three beautiful children into this world: John, Harris, and Elizabeth. Their passion for supporting healthy decision-making stems from a life that’s been affected by substance misuse and a commitment to ensure that far fewer families ever experience a tragic midnight phone call.

René Zamore
Executive Director, John Fontaine, Jr. Charity
Before joining JFJC, Rene spent over 15 years as an executive director in the non-profit sector. All of her professional experiences offer one important commonality: empowering people through awareness and education

During her time with the Greater Houston Restaurant Association, René worked to promote the local restaurant industry, provide educational programs for high school students, shepherd public awareness campaigns, and lead grassroots government affairs initiatives and advocacy. While at HITS Theater, she managed business development and provided educational, cultural, and civic-minded theatrical experiences and performances. In 2017, René created a non-profit organization for the exclusive purpose of leading Harvard Elementary School’s largest capital campaign effort to date, supporting the design, management, and reconstruction of the school’s 12,000-sq-ft garden, playground, and outdoor classroom space.

René holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of St. Thomas. When out of the office, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three boys, gardening, friends, and watching baseball.

Teandra Gordon, PhD, LMFT-S
Senior Director of Program
Teandra Gordon, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist with extensive experience in behavioral health and education, most recently serving as the Vice President of School Based Health at the largest federally qualified health center in Texas. As a former elementary school teacher, she also brings a wealth of knowledge about education and school systems. Dr. Gordon has been invited to deliver testimony to the Texas Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security and to the Texas House Committee on Public Health. She has also authored several academic articles and a book on parenting.

Dr. Gordon is the mother of five children and enjoys using both professional training and practical experiences in dynamic presentations to help educators, parents, and students live healthy, purpose-filled lives.

Zachary Katz
Senior Director of Technology & Operations
Born and raised in Houston, Zach graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with dual concentrations in Psychology and Business. He has a deep passion to help people live consciously healthy lives. Zach serves to ensure BrainAbouts technology is providing users with quality, easy-to-use experiences which allow for optimal implementation of BrainAbouts programming. He also serves to ensure BrainAbouts operations function smoothly, managing the technical aspects of implementing the program.

Zach is pursuing a master’s degree in cognitive sciences, focusing his research on the role of the prefrontal cortex on impulsive behavior. In his free time, he enjoys laughing, thinking, conversing with others, and living spontaneously.

Kemonta Jackson
Director of Program Implementation
Kemonta Jackson is from Nashville, TN and joins BrainAbouts as a transplant to Houston, TX. Kemonta (or sometimes called “Keke”, his childhood nickname) earned his Master of Art in Education from Tennessee State University (TSU) and Bachelor of Science from Lane College (LC) and Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC). Kemonta’s studies include research in health education and sport science. He also served as a graduate assistant and teaching/research assistant during his tenure at TSU. He also lettered in Football and Basketball while in undergraduate studies.

Kemonta Jackson’s professional experience includes corporate wellness, public schools, community support, and non-profit. His most recent work involves serving as a Program Director for the Call Me MiSTER®  program with the University of Houston-Downtown.  In his personal time, Kemonta enjoys community involvement as a development coach and mentor. He invests time in partnering with independent small groups that’s focus on minority inclusion and solutions to minority barriers in modern society. Some of his favorite things to do in his free time is exercise, playing basketball, and traveling.

Michael Damante
Director of Content
Michael Damante is a former journalist, published author, communications specialist, and award-winning educator. Mike started his professional career with Hearst Media as a copy editor, web producer, and features/sports writer. He worked in marketing, social media and corporate communications for one the largest school district in Texas, and an award-winning agency. Mike also spent 8 years in the classroom as an English teacher and Journalism adviser. He is a published author of five books who has appeared in and been quoted in major outlets like USA Today, FOX 26 Houston, Spectrum News Austin, and others. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, playing hockey, and meditating.
Yvonne Nocetti
Executive Assistant, John Fontaine, Jr. Charity
Yvonne has been an experienced executive assistant office manager for 20 years with a demonstrated history of working in corporate and diverse industries. She is proud to call herself a Houstonian after relocating from New York where she provided high level executive support management. Yvonne provides support in the operations of the John Fontaine Jr. Charity and is very proud to be part of this organization. In her free time, she enjoys being an active participant in social events in her community and spending time with her family and pets.

The JFJC: Journey to Reduce Tragic Phone Calls

In 2000, the Fontaine Family received the phone call that is every parent’s worst nightmare. Their oldest son, John, had been in a fatal, alcohol-related car accident. John was just 16. In search of healing, the family made a promise to him. They committed to doing anything in their power to prevent high-risk behaviors so that far fewer families ever have to experience a tragic phone call.

Today, the John Fontaine Jr. Charity’s mission is to help children and young adults make safer decisions and avoid preventable tragedies. Today, BrainAbouts, the JFJC’s signature program, is reaching thousands of students across the nation.

And thanks to generous donors, the JFJC is able to underwrite the cost of BrainAbouts, so that all schools have access to high-quality, research-based, and consistent prevention programming.