The Whitten-Newman Foundation was created by Reggie Whitten, his wife Rachelle, and his brother-in-law Robert Newman. Unfortunately, the foundation was born of tragedy. Reggie’s son, Brandon, an “all-American” kid, became addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol. When Brandon died in a motorcycle accident in 2002, at the age of 25, Reggie was devastated. “I was a walking dead man,” he explained. “I was just trying to find a reason to live.” It was his wife, Rachelle Newman Whitten, who helped him find that reason.
Central to the mission of the Whitten-Newman Foundation is helping put a stop to drug and alcohol abuse among young people like Brandon who often consider themselves “bullet proof” and don’t believe they can ever become an addict. “I think the worst problem this country has is drug and alcohol addiction,” Reggie said. “If we had an act of terrorism that killed as many people, we would be quick to launch a war against our enemy. When we formed the foundation, we asked ourselves ‘How can we prevent drug and alcohol abuse?’ One way is to get kids involved in science.”