Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Activities, STEM

Some days will be too cold or too hot for outdoor activities, but mentors and mentees still can learn and play online as well as prepare for outside activities when the weather is clement.

A perennial favorite for everyone is National Geographic--for kids or adults!

For high school:
From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), more challenging but perhaps appropriate for high school--or for mentors in need of a serious challenge:
"Check out videos of competitions at MIT like the Solar Decathlon. Ever see a bullet smash through a rose dipped in nitrogen? Check out the Strobe Project Laboratory. Studying for the Physics AP exam? Watch an MIT professor explain pendulums by swinging across his classroom."

Back to younger age groups:
Education and training opportunities from the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy vary; a few are below. Some websites cost money to join, but most are free.  Typically, interactive websites offered by museums and zoos are highly informative and produced well.  This may lead you to investigate other museum and zoo sites.

Subcategory:  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

The United Nations Cyberschoolbus allows choice of country groupings and then different classifications such as economically developing, Nordic Council, etc.

The Boston Museum's "Ancient Egypt: Science & Technology"
Among other tools, online you can plan your own afterlife.  The pharoah allows a certain amount of money; when you search for possible tombs, embalming, etc., you learn the different types and the costs.  Of course, you are keeping a budget online, too, and you cannot charge it!

The British Museum:  "Ancient Egypt"

From the Globe Program:
Example:  Observing, Describing and Identifying Clouds

"GoNorth!" focuses on the Artic.

"In Search of the Ways of Knowing Trail"
Virtual trip through the African rain forest

Monday, December 10, 2012

'Why emphasize education?

Mentors encourage their mentees.  Graduating from high school and seeking post-secondary training are goals which a mentor can help a mentee chart and achieve.  Use freely the points below.

 Learnit Educational Community  Useful resources for a better education.

 The Importance of Education

As early as kindergarten, your parents may have been reminding you about the importance of education and the reasons why you should wake up early to go to school. In the end, your parents know best. One of the key roles of getting educated is to gain knowledge of things you won’t be able to discover otherwise.

Although education can come in various forms, such as self-study, homeschooling, and traditional school-based programs, they are all important to one’s personal development. This article explains the importance of education for young kids, teenagers, college students and even professionals.

Benefits of Preschool Education
Preschools, nursery schooling, or infant education is given to children from month-old to five years old, depending on local educational standards. Contrary to popular belief that preschools only teach social skills to kids through playtime, preschools may have one or two teaching methods used (such as Waldorf, Montessori, Head Start, The Creative Curriculum, High Scope, Bank Street, Reggio Emilia, High Reach Learning, and Forest kindergartens, among others. All of these teaching methods provide students with:   

  • Educational gain – Numerous studies and surveys have shown that kids who attended preschool had better results when given standardized tests and increase their chances of success in school. More than 5 studies have demonstrated these findings, one of which stating that four graders who attended preschool earlier passed math assessments and literacy tests with higher grades than their classmates who skipped preschool.
  • Social learning – An important aspect of preschool education is it allows kids to socialize with other kids of the same age. This helps young kids express emotions verbally and develop a sense of humor, learn basic rules and routines, show independence, and play well with other children to encourage collaborative learning.
  • Develop advanced skills – Children who had preschool education developed advanced skills in important areas such as problem solving, group-based learning, following directions and communication, among others.
  • Reduce chances of failure, teen pregnancies and committing crimes as adults – Different studies have shown that children who attend preschool perform more effectively in regular classes and avoid failing grade levels. Another study done in North Carolina suggested that those who had preschool education had lower rates of teen pregnancy. Based on U.S. crime rates, adults who went to preschool when they were young had fewer and less severe crimes committed as adults.
John M. Mungia straightens his mortar board...


Importance of Primary Education
Primary or elementary education is the first several years of a child’s formal education. Some schools or countries require up to 7 years of structured primary schooling, while others consist of 5 or 6 years. Children attend primary schooling at age 5 or 6. Some educators believe the elementary levels are the most important part of a person’s educational background. Here’s why:
  • Basic Educational Foundation – Children learn about the basics skills, such as reading and writing, as well as the concepts of language, math, science and culture, among other subjects.
  • Develop Life Skills – Many of the important life lessons are taught in primary education. Children learn about choosing right from wrong, how to set and reach goals, how to appreciate diversity, make good decisions and develop social skills and a solid moral character.
  • Gain resources and opportunities – Attending a school allows children to be part of a community and get access to the libraries and computer courses, bands and chorus, sports facilities, school counselors, and lab rooms, among others. These resources are particularly important to kids of poorer families who would not have access to these opportunities if they were not in school.
  • Prepare for Adulthood – Some children get jobs after taking primary education. Although this won’t be enough to find a good-paying job, having basic education makes the process of employment a bit easier. In addition, kids who value education become great contributors to society as adults.

 Advantages of Secondary Education
In most educational systems, secondary education occurs during a child’s adolescence. It is also known as middle school or high school, depending on the system and country. In Canada and the United States, primary and secondary education is known together as K-12 education. In New Zealand and other countries, grades 1-13 are used. The purpose of secondary education include preparing teens for higher education (or college), providing them with common knowledge, or training them directly for a profession. Regardless of institution, kids who attend secondary education reap these benefits:
  • Social Benefits – Although social skills are developed since a child attends preschool and primary school, getting secondary education is important to a teenager’s development of interpersonal communication skills. Since adolescence can be a trying time for teens, having friends at school to relate at this age is extremely important.
  • Employment stability – A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study found that full-time adult workers who hold a GED or high school diploma are 37% less likely to be unemployed compared to those with less education. This is because many employers prefer to hire people with high school education since they have developed career skills and work habits to prepare them for the workforce.
  • Better Salary – Those with a high school diploma earn an average of $555/week (or over $8,500 a year), compared to high school dropout workers who earn about $400/week.
  • Entry to College, University and Continuing Education programs – A GED or high school diploma helps students seek higher education in college, university or other special schools.
A side note: It is a common misconception that a GED (General Educational Development) is equivalent to a high school diploma, but be aware that the GED exam is not a direct alternative to a high school diploma, even if they are usually grouped together. The GED exam includes 5 parts – social studies, mathematics, science, writing skills and interpreting literature. If you pass this exam, you will not earn a high school diploma, but a GED certificate. While many HR managers look at GED holders as high school graduates, not all colleges accept applications with only a GED certificate.
Importance of Higher Education
Higher education is also called post-secondary or tertiary education. It is a non-compulsory educational level taken after high school. The term “higher education” may include studies in colleges, universities, vocational schools and graduate (postgraduate level) schools that results in obtaining a diploma, certificate or academic degrees. Regardless of what career path a student prefers to take, completing tertiary education provides the following benefits:
  • Skills and Overall Development – Even if tertiary school students take different subjects as majors, they all develop necessary skills in communication, reflection, tolerance and reasoning, which are important in solving future problems in their personal and professional lives. The availability of extracurricular activities in colleges helps in molding an individual’s personality and character. Students who live in campus (and are separated from their families for the first time) usually develop independence that cannot be gained elsewhere.
  • High Income – College graduates earn nearly twice as much compared to their salaries in jobs taken as high school graduates. In comparison with workers without college degrees, those with undergraduate degrees earn around 25% more, those with master’s degree earn up to 45% more and those with doctoral degrees earn up to 70% more. If you compute an adult’s working life, the average lifetime earning of high school graduate workers is $1.5 million, a bachelor’s degree holder $2.7 million, a master’s degree holder $3.2 million and a doctoral degree holder $4.5 million.
  • Gain Practical Experience focused on Chosen Fields – Since college programs provide lessons focused in one’s major, getting a degree in a particular field could open doors to careers you want. Employers usually hire a person with educational background related to the company’s industry, since certifications or diplomas serve as proof that you were taught practical skills needed for that field.
  • Networking – College exposes students with hundreds of different people each day. Many college graduates believe that networking is one of the top benefits of getting tertiary education because the contacts they made in college usually help them find entry-level jobs.
Benefits of Education to Society
It is not just the student and his/her family who receives the benefits of education. The society and economy also profits when people receive higher education and begin to receive better salaries. Here are the top advantages of education to society:
  • Educated Individuals make Good Citizens – Several studies and history has shown that people who are educated rarely commit crimes. If they do, the crimes are less severe than criminals without an educational background commit. Many adults who have completed high school levels are usually devoted to their families and join community, religious or philanthropic activities.
  • Tax and Government Assistance – High school graduates tend to pay taxes on time. A study conducted by the Ohio Economics Center for Education and Research suggests that high school graduates require less assistance than kids who were not able to attend secondary school or dropped out of high school.
  • Trained Professionals – Adults with certificates or diplomas in higher education become an important source of trained professionals for a country’s economy.
Education is important to any individual for his/her professional and personal life. The higher level of education a person obtains, the greater chances he/she will lead a financially stable life.

"The Importance of Education" from Nortel LeaniT                                                                                       Written by the admin


Friday, December 7, 2012

December Activities

MetroFamily is an outstanding resource all year for activities for children and adults together.  The December 2012 issue features a calendar on which you can click for a day's happenings.

For a group or pair road trip, read the article entitled "Exploring Oklahoma and Beyond, Regional Holiday Fun."  For example, Broken Arrow's Rhema Bible Church has been accumulating lights to display for 30 years.  The Castle of Muskogee also provides light displays and a petting zoo among other amusements.  Claremore's Shepherd's Cross has a Christmas program, and Adair offers the Christmas Train.  Many other Oklahoma towns such as Chickasha, Enid, Guthrie, and Yukon host special holiday events or displays. 

Downtown in December, November 23-December 31, involves ice skating, snow tubing, holiday lights, etc. 

Tulsa celebrates Winterfest from November 23, 2012 - January 6, 2013.

More Christmas light display information:

Local colleges, universities and high schools often have musicals and plays all year.  Consider requesting early a group rate or donated tickets for a your nonprofit mentoring group. 

INACTIVITY at any age is harmful.  After glancing through the article below, share what physical activities you and your mentee or a group of mentors and mentees can do during the winter.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Career Exploration for Mentors & Mentees

Career exploration should begin far before ninth grade when grades "count" for graduation and both choice of and performance in classes matter for the future.

Photo:  A few years ago, an Oklahoma City oilman and member of the Kiwanis Club of Oklahoma City hosted a trip for an OKCPS Key Club to one of his rigs to learn about careers in the oil industry.  Other club members hosted tours of a bank and a large law firm.  Mentoring groups can arrange similar career-oriented outtings, and mentors can take mentees to work.

Mentors can expose youths to so many careers via the internet, but hands-on activities and onsite visits to businesses and facilities are also helpful.  For example, a mentor can discuss aeronautics with kites, weather, balsa wood model airplanes, and other related subjects in addition to viewing an airshow, going inside a plane in a museum, watching , etc.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses really are essential for males and females.  Mentees who are behind in math and science need encouragement and tutoring so they graduate with more choices.  STEM classes build on fundamentals so these blocks must be mastered beginning in elementary school and continuing through high school.  Leave no mentee behind!

Shawnee United Way board member Michael Shaw, a businessman, tells about career mentoring in a Tulsa school.  One of his students wanted to be a vet, but when Michael mentioned the number of years of education required, the student was not interested.  Michael suggested becoming a vet tech.  Upon research, that career, even if only a launching pad for another career or vet school, met the criterion of a reasonable amount of extra education while working with animals. 

All of the links below are launching pads for enlightenment and discussion.

Consider Decisions Made in High School

Work Schedules to Discuss: What Kinds of Shifts Exist

I Love Anthropology; However, Can I Make a Living for a Family as an Anthropologist?


If Salaries Matter I

If Salaries Matter II

Oklahoma City Included

Who Knew a Prosthodontist Can Make $55.43 an Hour?

From Survey Researchers to Glaziers to Therapist to Medical Secretaries...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SandRidge Santa Run 2012

We salute Oklahoma businesses that support communities around the state, especially those which sponsor and participate in youth mentoring programs.

SandRidge Energy, based in Oklahoma City, champions youth mentoring in two Oklahoma City Public Schools but also through the Mentoring Project, which it encouraged to relocate in Oklahoma City. 

December 4, 2012

"SandRidge Santa Run to benefit The Mentoring Project"

The Edmond Sun

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahomans are invited to get in the holiday spirit and get moving with the annual SandRidge Santa Run in downtown Oklahoma City Dec. 8. The certified 5K starts at 9 a.m., and the one-mile Fun Run begins at 9:30 a.m. for runners of all ages. Children 8 years and younger may participate in the Kids’ Dash with Santa, which begins at 10 a.m. All runs begin and end at Leadership Square, 211 N. Robinson. The SandRidge Santa Run is part of the Downtown in December activities.

This year’s event will also include a warm-up with Rumble the Bison and the Thunder Girls. The top three male and female finishers in the 5K will win cash prizes. The top three male and female finishers in each 5-year age bracket will receive a medal.

Registered 5K runners who dress up in holiday costumes may qualify for the Costume Contest. After the race, the SandRidge Santa Run panel of judges will award $500 to the first place winner, $300 to second place and $200 to third place.

Proceeds from the event will benefit The Mentoring Project (TMP), an advocacy and training organization which is rewriting the fatherless story through mentoring. Through church and business trainings and national mentor recruitment, TMP creates and sustains life-changing relationships.

“The mission of The Mentoring Project is something that is very important to us at SandRidge Energy,” said Greg Dewey, vice president of communications and community relations at SandRidge. “We believe it’s essential that all kids, especially those growing up in vulnerable situations, have a positive influence in their lives to set a good example and encourage them to dream positive dreams and work hard to achieve them.”

The Mentoring Project launched its Oklahoma City office on Friday, Nov. 16, with best-selling author Bob Goff. TMP is conducting mentor trainings and recruiting events throughout the spring of 2013.

“We’re thrilled to stand with Tom Ward and SandRidge to help the hundreds of fatherless OKC youth who need positive role models in their lives,” said John Sowers, president of The Mentoring Project. “It’s our joy to see mentors rewriting the fatherless story: keeping youth in schools and out of gangs, away from drugs or ending up on the streets or in prison.”

Registration fees for the 5k are $40 and $20 for the Fun Run, which includes a race shirt. A Fun Run Family Pack is available for up to five people of any age at a cost of $75, which includes race shirts. The Kid’s Dash is free, but only children 8 years and younger may participate. Pre-registration is preferred.

Registrations will be accepted on race day between 7-8:30 a.m., but participants are encouraged to register in advance at

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fundraising Tips

While searching for unique social activities for a club of which I am a member, I ran across many fundraising ideas.  Some of these seemed worthwhile either for social activities and/or fundraising.  You may judge and contribute your own activites and fundraisers.

Examples from the  message board site below. Also search for fundraising online.

"Quiz nights, 'themed' suppers (curry nights, St. Patrick's, Harvest supper, etc.,), treasure hunt, Bonfire night party, talks on local interest, choir and poetry recitals, monthly cooked breakfast, sponsored ramble.

Tutored wine tasting, casino night, cookery demo, BBQ, barn dance, fashion show, talent competition, walk, street party, beer festival, treasure hunt, local food fair."

Ret. 11-14-12

What Event Fundraisers Can Learn 

from Lady Gaga


on 08-17-2011 11:58 AM, EDT - last edited on 08-18-2011 12:41 PM, EDT

by Jono Smith, Event 360

The most successful marketer in the world doesn't work for Apple, Starbucks, or charity: water.  She works for herself (and her fans).  Love her or hate her, it's Lady Gaga.  With nearly 11 million Twitter followers, 38 million Facebook fans, over 1 billion YouTube views, and a net worth of $110 million, Lady Gaga understands marketing.

“Gaga and her team are some of the best marketers around; they understand the importance of integrating social with traditional media, engaging audiences in real-time, and most of all, telling a story that is relatable and worth spreading,” said Alexa Scordato, a Gaga fan, digital strategist and community manager for MAT@USC.

Lady Gaga has soared to success because she understands the same four things that are required of successful event fundraising programs: developing and implementing an effective ask, generating sufficient attendance, creating an impactful experience, and providing robust support.

The four components of successful event fundraising:

1. Developing and implementing an effective ask: Any effective fundraising program starts and ends with presenting others with an opportunity to help and asking for their support. Event fundraising is no different. And yet, creating an effective request is the most neglected part of most event fundraising programs.

TIP: Develop a case-based income model and ask that supports your organization’s development efforts and growth strategy, and use it to create donations.

2. Generating sufficient attendance: One of the main reasons events don't generate sufficient attendance is because the target is too broad.  The narrower your target market segment, the more likely it is that you will be able to generate sufficient attendance. For example, an event targeted at Moms is an event without a real target, while one targeted at Mothers (ages 35-54) of children (ages 3-12) is much better because the participants will automatically have something to talk about—their many shared experiences. Moms participating in those conversations will get a much better sense of how the event appeals to their values through that targeting and can then offer up referrals and donors from within their personal networks who also have impact with those issues directly.

TIP: Define your target market, then develop a plan to attract and retain participants in that target.
3. Creating an impactful experience: Falling short on delivering your event participants a great experience is a wasted opportunity to earn a raving fan. You have a captive audience. Dazzle them and they will become an important resource in your recruitment and fundraising arsenal. Disappoint them and you’ll be forced to try even harder next year.

TIP: Design and implement an event experience suited to your organization mission, fundraising case, audience, and budget.
4. Providing robust support: From great customer service during registration, to safety on event day, to having an effective event website, an impactful experience alone is not enough.

TIP: Invest in the infrastructure to ensure a safe, efficient, and error-free program. The most successful events provide robust support and incredible customer service to create an extremely loyal participants base.

(Thanks to Jono and the team for allowing us to share this great article with you- Check out the Event 360 blog for more great posts!)

Ret. 4-16-15

Monday, November 12, 2012

PR & Mentor Recruiting

Sunday's Claremore paper 11-11-12

Men. Women. Police Officers. Firefighters. Business Professionals. Retirees. RSU students. Young Adults. 
Volunteers for Youth

We always have to marvel at and congratulate Melynda Stone on her creativity and perseverance!  Thanks for sharing another wonderful way of keeping the mission in front of the public.  Below is a photo of mentee Dalton and mentor Larry "Ace" Parker, taken as they participated in the mentor/mentee panel at the Oklahoma Foundation of Excellence's Fall Forum, October 23, 2012, in Norman.  Dalton and Larry are mentioned in the article below.

November 11, 2012


PAL Program kicks off recruitment campaign

Rebecca HattawayStaff Reporter


Men. Women. Police Officers. Firefighters. Business Professionals. Retirees. RSU students. Young Adults.

Volunteers for Youth’s PAL Program wants YOU.

They have launched a new poster campaign recruiting people from all walks of life to become mentors.

The school-based program matches mentors with students in Rogers County schools. They meet for an hour each week during the school year.

They also offer e-PAL in which mentors and mentees communicate by email one a week and meet face-to-face once a month.

“We have a wide range of kids selected for our program,” said Volunteers for Youth Executive Director Melynda Stone. “Basically, we recognize them as kids who really just need one more caring adult in their lives.”

One special group the PAL Program is focusing on recruiting is Veterans.

Veteran Larry “Ace” Parker has mentored several students over many years at Sequoyah.

Mentee Dalton was matched with Parker as a second grader. He is now a junior in high school.. They are featured on one of the posters.

“Larry has just been an inspiring mentor,” Stone said. “Veterans are one of our targets for mentors because they have servants’ hearts anyway. They can be very influential on a young person.”

Stone solicited Northeast Technology Center’s EAST (Environmental and Spatial Technology) program to help with the recruitment project.

Students Tyler Mooney and Brad Combs have worked with Stone to brainstorm groups to target, design the posters and develop the marketing campaign.

They even carried a banner in the Veterans Parade on Friday.

The 11x17 framed posters will be on display throughout the community beginning this week.

“All the posters have the same look and feel, but they each target a different audience,” Stone said. “Hopefully, people will walk into a bank one day and see a poster, and then see another at Chili’s the next day. They will be all over to keep the need in front of people.”

The posters will have pull off cards with the phone number and web site for more information.

The campaign will culminate in January which is National Mentoring Month.

The PAL Program will host a recognition event for mentors featuring special speaker, Cindi Hemm, a retired principal at Tulsa Public Schools.

“She authored the book Miracle on Southwest Boulevard which credits mentoring as one of the major things that turned her school around,” Stone said. “We hope we will have a bunch of new volunteers by then.”

For more information about the PAL Program, call (918) 343-2530 by

Volunteers for Youth is a Rogers County United Way agency.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Leflore County Mentoring

Volunteers make a difference

Poteau Firefighter Jeff Gibson showing the fire truck to his mentee Gage Martin.

Great Futures     

The Boys and Girls Club of LeFlore County (BGCLC) not only offers a safe place for kids to be after-school we also offer a program that benefit children and adults. Our YES Mentoring program “Youth Experiencing Success” offers a great opportunity for caring adults to develop nurturing and supportive relationships with the youth.

“Mentoring is a two-way relationship,” said Jeff Gibson, a mentor at the Poteau location. “I learn a lot from my mentee and he learns from me.”

Gibson, a member of the Poteau Fire Department, shared the aspects of serving the fire department by allowing his mentee to see and learn about the fire truck and how it operates. Who knows, his mentee may discover a career he never dreamed about before.
Jane Naylor, a mentor at the Heavener site, teaching her mentee, Marisol Martinez how to knit.

Another Poteau mentor, Karli Beger, plays board games with her mentee. While some mentors teach knitting, quilting, scrapbooking and beading others offer skills at basketball or other athletic activities. Some of the youth just want someone to talk to and listen to what they have to say, building a friendship.

Some need help in making decisions about what career they want to choose, or help with their homework. The young artist may need you to encourage them to draw. The learning opportunities for both the mentee and the mentor are endless.

Oklahoma State Representative James Lockhart is serving as a mentor in our Heavener location. Representative Lockhart states, “I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to consider becoming a mentor. I know how hectic life can be and it may seem as if you do not have the time, but I ask you to stop and think about someone that made a difference in your life when you were a child, didn’t they make time for you? Oftentimes we underestimate the positive impact that a few moments make in a child’s life. I try to spend one hour a week mentoring with a child because I believe the good that men do lives on long after they are gone.”

Mentors should view a mentoring relationship as both an opportunity to teach and an opportunity to learn. A mentor can gain satisfaction by sharing knowledge, expertise, and positive influences, while a mentee can have their self-esteem boosted and share their thoughts and goals.

The mentoring needs of at-risk youth are growing, at the same time there is a shortage of mentors to serve our youth. It seems that most people lead such busy lifestyles that they find it difficult to set aside time for mentoring. BGCLC’s goal is to help build the self- esteem and confidence of all the children and youth in Leflore County. Our children are worth investing our time in. You could be the one who helps a child graduate versus being a high school dropout, a future leader in the business world versus a government assistant recipient. We challenge you to be the difference for a child by investing just 30 minutes a week to offer the support and encouragement they need to reach their full potential in life.

The YES Mentoring program is currently being offered at the Poteau and Heavener after school locations from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and serves fourth through eighth grade students. For more information about the YES Mentoring Program contact the office at (918) 647-7136.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fundraising - 38 Successes

Updated 4-16-15

Here are some of the Kiwanis Clubs' fundraising ideas.


Net Gains. (2012, October/November). 
Retrieved from    

Ret. 11-1-12   Updated 4-16-15

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tradesman Mentoring

Gerald Scott (right) has a big heart, an even bigger vision, and a successful plan.  He recently participated as a panelist at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence's Fall Forum on October 23, 2012.  Read more about his program through the recent publicity from The Oklahoman below and from his website.
Oklahoma City mentoring ministry helps at-risk youths

The Tradesman, part of the Oklahoma City-based Services That Assist And Redeem (STARR) ministry program, is pairing young men with positive male role models to help them take the right path toward a successful future.

By Carla Hinton | Published: October 20, 2012

The Rev. Gerald Scott, of Oklahoma City, is sure his life would be different without the positive influence of several men who helped nurture him to adulthood.

Scott, 51, said he fit several statistics associated with at-risk youths because he was raised by his mother after his parents divorced when he was 9, and then his father died when he was 14.

He said he became a leader at his high school and went on to graduate from college, partly due to the aid of men including a local pastor, a high school history teacher and a school administrator who each saw leadership potential in him “even though I didn't see it in myself.”

Scott said he started the Tradesman mentoring ministry in April 2011 to provide godly mentors to young men whose circumstances are less than ideal.

The mentoring project is part of Scott's Services That Assist And Redeem, or STARR, ministry program.

Scott, a licensed and ordained minister, said the Tradesman ministry is now focused on helping youths on probation with the Oklahoma County Juvenile Justice Bureau. He said about 36 young men are in the program, and they are paired with about 10 local volunteers who want to give back to youths in much the same way the mentors of Scott's childhood helped him.

“They didn't call it mentoring back then, but that's what it was,” Scott said.

“Our mission with Tradesman is to enrich the lives of Oklahomans to help them get better.”

Scott said Oklahoma City Thunder NBA star Kevin Durant says that all the time.

“Anytime he gets in front of the microphone he says, ‘I just want to get better.' Well, so many people want an opportunity to get better, an opportunity to change their lives,” Scott said.

Biblical premise

Scott said the premise behind the Tradesman program is biblical, particularly Malachi 4:6, which says, “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

Scott said the ministry's volunteers come from all walks of life and become father figures to the young men with whom they spend one to two hours a week at the youth's home or at a location in the community. He said many at-risk youth have problems with authority, and the mentoring program aims to educate them about the role of authority figures in their lives.

Scott said the Tradesman curriculum is called Positive Youth Development, a juvenile justice curriculum that includes spirituality as a component. He said the Tradesman ministry expands on that to teach young men biblical virtues to guide them in the future. Scott said the mentors teach the youths attributes such as integrity, accountability and sincerity, from what he called “the wisdom chapter” — Proverbs 4.

“The fields are ripe for them to have that information poured into them,” he said.

Scott, who attends The Gate Church, said mentors working with youths in the juvenile justice system help the young men create an individual development plan designed to help them successfully complete their probation and build on their assets. The mentors help the youths set positive goals such as completing high school, attending college or taking steps toward some type of job apprenticeship.

Scott said he is always recruiting mentors and thanks God for those he has. He said the ministry also is grateful to its community partners, including Mount Triumph Baptist Church, Tinker Air Force Junior Force Council, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, Metro Career Academy, the Oklahoma State Health Department, Work Force Oklahoma, Tinker Federal Credit Union and the Oklahoma College Assistance Program.

“Since this is about redemption, if we come together, we can change those statistics,” Scott said.

Changing lives

Scott said many of the young men in the program are transformed from individuals who feel alienated from society to youths who have a hope for the future. He said many of them leave the program with more stable relationships with their families, and some have gone back to school after being truant.

Kim Caldwell, of Oklahoma City, said her son Marcellus Caldwell, 15, has shown progress in the Tradesman program.

“It has helped with his communication and interaction skills, and I can see a difference as far as his outlook on life, even spiritually,” she said.

She said talking with her son's mentor, Karlin Williamson, has helped her in her role as a parent and has aided the family, which includes her husband and Marcellus' father, in general.

“Me and Karlin would talk, and he would say he was approaching things different, and it has enabled me to learn about how to approach things,” she said. “Karlin is really a blessing — caring and compassionate. He has made such a difference.”

Williamson, 36, said he saw something interesting in Marcellus: himself.

“He reminded me of me when I was a teenager, the way he was dealing with problems, the way he reacted to questions — it was familiar,” Williamson said.

He said the two have been meeting for about nine months, and the young man is doing well.

Williamson said he works with his mentees in their homes to help them develop short-term and long-term goals. He said he takes them to the local YMCA or community center to play sports together or do things such as learn to play drums when they are making progress in the program.

Williamson said, above all, it's important to help the young person realize that he has to want to improve his life. Sometimes, the closer a youth gets to completing his goal, the tougher it gets, he said.

But that's where Williamson said he comes in — to help motivate them to see that their future can be much brighter than they may have envisioned.

“I want to see them succeed,” he said. “That's what I want.”

For more on the mentoring program:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Local Theater Publicity - Time Sensitive

In promoting mentoring and providing resources, the Boren Mentoring Initiative is in the process of planning a 2013 Oklahoma youth mentoring campaign as well as recognizing one mentor (and his or her mentee) on Oklahoma Mentor Day, January 16, 2013, at the State Capitol.  We will announce more details in the future; however, we have a local public relatons issue requiring immediate action on your part.

In order to have a public service announcement (PSA) at your local theater, you must far in advance contact the theater to learn the process and specifications to submit a mentoring PSA; permission is not granted locally but corporately from the chain or distributor.  The Boren Mentoring Initiative will be unable to contact your local theaters.

Currently, we have permission for one PSA during a limited time slot at the Harkins Bricktown Theater in Oklahoma City. 

From the National Mentoring Partnership, we will receive materials which each organization can use for a PSA, but we are also working with the University of Oklahoma to create materials for an Oklahoma campaign.  Whichever route you may choose, please contact your local theaters now to process your request.  The PSAs will be generic, either using the National Mentoring Month theme of "Mentoring Works" or the theme and imagery of the Oklahoma campaign. 

Although running the mentoring PSA in January, National Mentoring Month, would be ideal, any time you can book during 2013 will be perfect.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mentors Matter in Pottawatomie County

On October 17th, United Way of Pottawatomie County hosted "A Cup of Joe & A Donut Hole," a cordial and fun come-and-go for its recently developed Mentors Matter initiative.

Mentors Matter will work with mentoring organizations in Pottawatomie County to increase their capacity and recruit qualified mentors.  We envision a community where every child at risk of not achieving their full potential will be matched with a caring adult mentor.

Michael Shaw, United Way board member, vice drive chair, and Shawnee businessman, is the impassioned leader of this program.  For a few years, Michael not only worked in Tulsa but participated in Tulsa Public Schools' College Access, Career Readiness, sponsored by Tulsa Metro Chamber and The Higher Ed Forum.  In that program, a CACR coach goes into the classroom twice a month to work with students on career pathways, choices, and post-secondary options.  What Shaw learned and saw in Tulsa became a catalyst for increasing mentoring in the Shawnee area.

Pictured above at the breakfast are Larry Gill, Michael Shaw and Audrey Seeliger--with doughnut holes and gallons of coffee!

Shaw and Seeliger, director of the United Way of Pottawatomie County, launched a needs assessment, community survey, and a solution--Mentors Matter.

See more. 

Mentors Matter next will host a hotdog dinner at Oklahoma Baptist University to create awareness and recruit mentors.

Congratulations to Seeliger, Shaw, and others in United Way for their efforts to transform Pottawatomie County youth through mentoring, a method research proves helps mentees academically, socially and emotionally.

Attending the event from the Avedis Foundation are Paula Waters, program director; Michelle Briggs, executive director; and Brooke Webb, administrative assistant.       
Not photographed here but essential was attendee Cyndi Munson, community programs manager for the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma, who told Beverly at the Boren Mentoring Initiative about this event.  Ah, the power of networking...
Clever logo!



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lights On Afterschool 2012

This is a first-time unified effort to spotlight Lights On Afterschool, a national event, in Oklahoma City.  Within a few weeks, directors of Oklahoma City afterschool programs of all kinds brainstormed and volunteered to have a little fun and show parents and the community what is available for their youth.  Next year will be even a bigger showcase of talent, fun, and organizations. 

Perhaps those of you in other communities around Oklahoma will host your own event next October.  We will offer advance information for 2013. 

Thanks to OKAN and Junior League of Oklahoma City for inviting us to participate.

Turn on yellow lights for Lights On Afterschool 2012! 

By the way, Jabee Williams has written and performed a song for and about Oklahoma City.  Here is an excerpt.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mentoring and Tutoring Program in Alva

Ms. Schaun Aker
On a recent trip to Alva, I finally had the great fortune to meet the librarian and mentoring director at Alva's Lincoln Elementary.  Having moved from Illinois, Schaun Aker is new to Oklahoma, but she already loves the state, the town, the school, and the students!  Schaun and I had emailed and talked by phone about her program previously; she is passionate, lively, and fun.

Schaun was in the midst of a Scholastic Book Fair, by which the library and perhaps one other school program could fundraise while encouraging students to read.  In the morning in the hall outside of the library, she had drinks and doughnuts.  As you can see from the photo of a photo, parents and students browsed after eating.

We hope to have one or two Academic All-State Alumni sign up to mentor in the program at Lincoln; the elementary is in walking distance of the school.
Whether the collegians volunteer or not, we are proud of Ms. Aker and her program and of her supportive principal Mr. Argo.

Alva Public Schools also has tutoring and mentoring programs at Washington Elementary, directed by Terri Parson, and Longfellow Elementary, directed by Sarah Green.

Congratulations to Alva!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bullying Report and Tips

Martin Fleming, the principal of For KidSake, sent via email this free newsletter for which you can subscribe.  For KidSake also offers TeleClass, a blog, publications and other resources free and for sale.      
Helpful to mentors, parents, school personnel, and mentoring organizations are the results of the study and practical tips on what bystanders can do to thwart bullying.  Imagine a mentoring group role playing these tips!  Most kids will stand up for what is right if they are empowered. 

Mr. Fleming's newsletter contents and For KidSake photo received 9-27-12:
School Tools Newsletter

the perfect resource for great school climate
  •  Academic performance tied to being bullied
Bullied teenagers in England attain significantly lower test scores than other children, according to a study that claims to prove a statistical correlation between abuse at school and educational achievement for the first time.  The GCSE results of children bullied at 14 or 15 are two grades lower, and their total score is 13 fewer points, the government-backed report says.  The study, “The Characteristics of Bullying Victims in Schools”, claims it is the first in-depth investigation of the impact of the problem on GCSE- age pupils. Researchers studied 10,000 children; the full findings are due in January.

Almost half of the 14-year-olds who took part said they had been bullied; this figure fell to 41 per cent at 15 and 29 per cent at 16.  The most common type of bullying at all ages was name-calling and cyberbullying, followed by being threatened with violence, social exclusion and being attacked.  Bullies were most likely to target those with special educational needs, pupils with a disability and children in care.

Previous studies have established that bullying victims have lower self- esteem and are at greater risk of suicide but have not examined the link with academic performance.  “There are all kinds of factors associated with bullying which could contribute to not doing as well in exams. Unhappiness and depression affect children’s work, too.”

But Richard Piggin, head of operations at the charity Beatbullying, said he had met many young people who described having to “dumb down” to avoid being picked on.  “They don’t want to be seen as different, and that goes for those with a particular talent in music or sport too,” Mr Piggin said.
  •   Talking points for school staff when working with the bystanders or the perpetrator in a bullying situation
Bystanders need to …
• Avoid laughing or joining in when bullying occurs
• Tell the students who is bullying to stop
• Encourage other bystanders to be supportive
• Say something kind or supportive to the target of bullying
• Invite the student who is being bullied to walk, sit, work or socialize with them
• Encourage the target to talk to an adult about what happened and offering to accompany them
• Tell an adult at school what has happened
• Talk to an adult at home about what has happened.

Bullies need to…
• Reflect on their reasons for participating in bullying behavior
• Reflect on their values or the type of person they wish to be
• Take the perspective of the students they are bullying and thinking about how they might feel
• Think about and trying out alternative ways of addressing their feelings and impulses.

This School Tools Newsletter comes to you from the folks at For KidSake.
We can be reached at             Mark 9:37
  • Free Items (TeleClass, time-sensitive opportunity, October 10th)
Free ebook!
This article highlights the steps a small school implemented to vastly improve their school climate. The outcomes are measured, research-backed, and straight-forward.
Free staff meeting activity!
This excellent activity, Opinion Juggle, is designed for administrators or other workshop leaders who want to get everyone talking about the important topic at hand, but to do it in a constructive and effective manner.

Free TeleClass!
This month's free TeleClass is The Latest and Best Strategies for Great School Climate. Sixty minutes packed with the latest research and promising practices. All our TeleClasses are conducted over the telephone and on the internet. Simply dial in at the beginning of class, listen on your phone, and watch the powerpoints on your computer.

Wednesday, October 10th 9:00 am pacific coast time 

Friday, September 21, 2012

National Honor

The Boys and Girls Clubs Youth of the Year is Trei Dudley of Lawrence, Kansas.

Congratulations to the work of Boys and Girls Clubs nationally!

Oscar winner Denzel Washington is a twenty-year spokesman for B&GC.

Statistics:  The national group serving about 4 million youths receives $48 million in federal funding and has an operating budget of $1.5 billion.

Ret. 9-20-12

For more about the Boys and Girls Clubs of America:

For more about Trei Dudley:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Free Background Checks

Although we know that the most reliable and most expensive background checks are based upon fingerprints, Oklahoma mentoring organizations use various means to investigate their volunteers. 

If designing or improving a program, always seek direction from the research-based content on

Another resource for beginning a program, the Center for Disease Control offers guidelines to create policy through Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures at

The United States Department of Justice's Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, listed within MENTOR's website, allows a sex offender search nationally or by areas

Some organizations use firms such as SelectForce, Trak-1, or others.  Client searches can be customized and done online for fees; the more detailed the checks, the more the cost.  Simply Google to find other sources.

Back to free background checks...

Yukon's Helping Hand Volunteers program, one of the largest in the state, however, uses FREE background checks. 

For the simple volunteer form, the Helping Hand Volunteers' staff uses the downloadable OSBI information request at

Then staff members check these links for volunteers:

On the OSCN site, you can select "Search Dockets," and it will give you a group of counties in Oklahoma that report directly to the network.  If you select "Non-OCIS Counties" it will give you the remaining Oklahoma counties and the information from them. We use both tabs. Christal has these addresses among her "favorites."

Thanks to Christal for the information from Yukon.

Christal G. Whitmire
Yukon Public Schools Helping Hand Volunteers
405-354-3716 x1031

Looking at someone's Facebook page is also a positive way to monitor activities. 

Seeking Oklahoma Youth Mentoring Groups

Among other services, the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative identifies and registers Oklahoma's youth mentoring organizations of various types to maintain an online directory and network the various groups.

Variety exists even within types such as school-based, community-based, or faith-based as well as one-to-one, team, group, and other subcategories. 

For example, we believe more youth PEER mentoring programs exist in Oklahoma, but we need contact information.

Help us identify any Oklahoma youth mentoring organizations not listed currently on our website



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mentor Matching by a Higher Design

INTEGRIS Health in Oklahoma has at least one mentoring program in each community where it operates a hospital.  INTEGRIS Health's Kathy Lowder, whose multiple job descriptions include mentoring and school partnership director, has phenomenal intuition in matching mentors and mentees after studying paperwork and conducting interviews.

Her sister Kay always says Kathy's matching is "a God thing."  Often the match has nothing to do with Kathy's abilities or choices.  Recently, for example, Kathy matched a pair who had the same health issues, although she did not know until after the match.  Read below about a special match.

It was a typical day for me in late August – running around thinking about all the paperwork I have sitting on my desk.

I had returned to the INTEGRIS charter school, Stanley Hupfeld Academy, to take a few more photos of students that I had missed.  Again, running around like a crazy woman.

I entered a kindergarten classroom, and the cutest little red-haired girl came up to me to give me a big hug.  I didn’t think a lot about it . . . until later.

Later that day while in my office, I finally connected with a new mentor from INTEGRIS.  We had literally been playing phone tag all week.  After explaining our mentoring program, she was ready to sign up!  What a great thing for one of our students – and for me!  Of course, we discussed all the details of the program, and then I asked the mentor one final question – “Is there any specific type of student that you’d like to work with?” 

Her answer took me quite by surprise – “Do you have any red-haired children?”

I was quite taken aback – seeing as though the majority of our student population is African-American, we don’t have many red-headed students. 

The reason for her request was that she encountered some obstacles while in school as a red-head and wanted to help someone else.

Kathy Lowder
Community Wellness and Diversity
Oklahoma City

Do you have some mentoring match stories to share?