Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Activities, Group

Not necessarily school-specific, bicycling can be a positive, regular group mentoring activity.  Think about how this could be adapted for your mentors—learning, bonding, building self-esteem, socialization, exercise… Note that old but good bicycles were refurbished and given to those who completed the program.  [For some physically challenged students, consider tandem riding.]

"Eugene Field Bicycle Club" [Eugene Field Elementary School, Tulsa, OK]
Tulsaworld.com, 2008  

In addition to parks and lakes for cookouts and sporting activities, adults can use their country club memberships for outdoor events.  For instance, the Sportsman's Country Club in Oklahoma City offers a perfect venue for a themed cookout, in this case, a tailgating party in which everyone wore their school colors--heavy on OU and OSU rivalry and loud with recorded fight songs!  The private, nice facilities had everything including a lake, wildlife, built-in charcoalers, clean restrooms, picnic tables, volleyball, and horseshoes.  To customize your own event, age-appropriate games can be added, and some locations may have more playground equipment.  Grounds used during the week after work should have minimal costs.  Adults can bring potluck and drinks, and the program can pay for the weiners, hamburger, and buns (as we did.).  A sports personality or two can also be invited to make a special appearance and pose for photos.

Some country clubs and sports clubs may allow discounted or free-for-nonprofit use of interior sports areas by special arrangement.  Pickleball, for instance, a combination of badminton, tennis, and table tennis elements, has become popular since it is more accessible to a wider range of players, especially children and seniors.  Look for learning opportunities for all ages.

Videotaping and posting children’s activities

Based upon this assembly-based school activity, any time a mentoring group or program does an activity that is entertaining, film and post it on YouTube.  The Boys and Girls Club of Oklahoma City, for example, had its own version of the cirque du soleil, for which members practiced and performed for families, staff, mentors, supporters, etc.  That would have been a fun, unusual post!  Many mentoring groups have sports-related activities or service projects in the community.  Older youths can help video and edit.  Let your imagination be your guide in what activities to create, video and post.

"Eugene Field 4th Grade 2010, Thriller"  [Eugene Field Elementary School, Tulsa, OK]
Assembly, May 7, 2010  

Videos retrieved 7-31-12

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Video, Mentor/Mentee Panel, NMS 2012

National Mentoring Summit, January 25, 2012

From my notes of this luncheon panel and avoiding video content as much as possible:                                                                                                                                           
A couple of questions:  Where would you be…, what did the program or your mentor provide, what about time to be a mentor…   One response:  “Make time instead of watching TiVo!”                                                           

Mentors provided motivation in a variety of areas including reasons to continue education.
Tiani is mentored by Joy. “Where would you be if not for the College-Bound Program?”

Jimmy  Fred, the middle school principal, who has mentored Jimmy for seven years beginning in eighth grade, said being a principal is not necessarily a one-on-one business as mentoring is.  He commented that there have been frustrating times but they just worked through them.  Jimmy, the only Asian there and presumably in his program, felt this was a problem and asked “Why?” [Implying the need for mentoring Asians, too, existed]

Jonathan  Jonathan became a gang member in fifth grade.  Big Brothers Big Sisters has a Hispanic program that changed his life when he was matched with Ron, a Marine.  Keys to their relationship success were consistency and fun!  From Ron Hines, Jonathan learned encouragement, preparation, determination, [that] life is not always easy, and [that they could] work through anything.

Chad, the panel’s youngest mentee at 12 years of age, has a single-parent mom, who thought a male role model would help him study, talk out problems, and give advice.  David, his mentor, who works in public policy, heard a Concerned Black Men National Organization’s mentoring PSA.  David’s advice is “Don’t just want something to happen, be that change! “

D'Vondre, shot by DC police at age 14 and with the prognosis of lifetime paralysis, had to learn to walk again alone in jail.  His transformation was a four-year journey.  Now he mentors!  He sees himself in some of the kids at the youth center.  He made the change by 18; at the summit he was 22 and giving back.  His mentor Kevin pointed out D’Vondre’s choices to live or not, to negotiate his life at school or on his way home, although the odds are against him.  As D’Vondre remarked in the video below, he “know[s] street politics…”  Kevin still mentors D’Vondre, a young adult.

You never know the potential of a young person until you spend time with him or her.  A mentor must have the eye of a sculptor who can see what is inside that block of rock.  [Paraphrase from the session]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCteF3Z4r3Y&feature=youtu.be    Ret. 7-26-12

(This edited version on is about 12 ½ minutes long; the entire discussion was inspiring.  To skip to the mentors and mentees, drag the video's time indicator forward to the right.)

Executive Director of the Minnesota Mentoring Partnership Joellen Gonder-Spacek.
Moderator:  The Founder and Executive Director of BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Beverly Bond.
Youth mentees:  Tiani, Jimmy, Jonathan, Chad and D'Vondre.
 Adult mentors:  Joy, Fred, John (representing Ron then deployed in Afghanistan), David and Kevin.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Video Appeal

You may have to turn up the volume, but you will get the point. 


Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village is a corporate-led/community-based model.  Hospital employees cannot set one designated time per week to mentor so this model allows them to come and go at their schedules.  In addition, the corporate mentoring director Kathy Lowder recruits university students, church members, retirees, and other community members to provide mentoring during the school day.  [Photo at right:  Stanley Hupfeld with students.  By the way, even as Chairman of the INTEGRIS Family of Foundations, he still mentors as he did when he was president and CEO.]

Video link and all mentor photos from the Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village Charter School

Shared by
Kathy Lowder
Community Wellness and Diversity Specialist
Oklahoma City, OK

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Role Models, Activities

Whether or not you are interested in sports or the Olympics, Olympic athletes often have amazing stories, which can be shared learning moments.  Research and discuss with mentees.

Allyson Felix, Olympic gold or bust”
Tweet from her mother whenever she is going somewhere:  “Remember who you are.”

“Three Olympians to watch for”  
Michael Phelps, swimming in his third Olympics
John Orozco, Puerto-Rican American gymnast, 19-years-old from a poor but hardworking family
Maher Abu Rmeileh, Palestinian, Judoka judo competitor, sells head scarves in the market.
From guest commentators on the same show:
Sarah Robles, female weight lifter, just received one sponsor, not the “type” to endorse products; persevered even without external money; her signature quote: "Beauty is strength."
Oscar Pistorius, amputee sprinter who fought so hard to compete at the Olympics
Brady Ellison, recurve archer
Rock Center “Gymnast Gabby Douglas on Olympics:’I’m going to do this thing’”
Sixteen-years old, dubbed the “Flying Squirrel,” almost abandoned her dream 


“Somalia athletes dream of Olympic gold:
Mogadishu runners Mohamed and Samsam train on dusty, dangerous streets with bullet-riddled buildings along the way.  Samsam’s home is not even what we would call a tent—superb example of discipline, dream, overcoming obstacles! 

“Somalia’s athletes brave war to train for the Olympics”
Islamists killed the head of the Somalian Olympic team.  Read this article for much more. (video)

Natalie Coughlin: ‘I’m older and much, much wiser’”
Eleven-time medalist, now 29 competing against much younger women

Team USA website:  http://www.teamusa.org/Athletes.aspx

All retrieved 7-24-12

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gone Mentoring Sign

What a clever way to honor your mentors and advertise your program!

Card stock tent to place on office desk or counter...

Courtesy of
Kathy Lowder
Community Wellness and Diversity
Oklahoma City, OK 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Role Models - Amputees

Overcoming any major differences--whether physical or emotional or sometimes both--requires much from within.  Learn/teach from these stories.  (What a series of lessons these can be--discuss the science and technology, special movie effects, mind over matter, alternate ways of viewing selves and situations, regaining a positive attitude, tolerance for differences, geography, and defining values such as resilience, perservance, etc.  Beverly

Spencer West, Canada
“Man who lost his legs as a child scales 19,000 ft-high Kilimanjaro by crawling on his HANDS for seven days”
Photos and article:  What is so amazing is that West had his legs amputated below his pelvis; in other words, he appears to have little or no torso from the stomach area down.  In one photo, he is wearing a tee shirt emblazoned with “Redefine Possible.”  He has!
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2162085/Disabled-man-legs-climbs-Mount-Kilimanjaro-Spencer-West-scales-mountain-using-HANDS.html Ret. 7-20-12

“Legless Spencer West reaches Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak”
Article and videos
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/good-news/legless-spencer-west-reaches-mount-kilimanjaro-peak-152235467.html ret. 7-20-12

“A Heroic Climber with No Legs Scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro”
Spencer West, from Toronto, Canada, climbed the tallest mountain in Africa using just his hands to raise over $500,000 for Free the Children, an African charity. 
Article only
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47895174/ns/us_news-giving/    Ret. 6-24-12

Oksana Masters, Kentucky via Ukraine 
“Born without legs, rower now heading for London”
Oksana Masters overcame a birth defect that left her without legs to become a world-class Paralympic rower.  Born with no fibulas because of exposure to a nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, Oksana was independent even in an orphanage.  Adopted at seven and brought to Louisville, she did not like adaptive rowing because she did not want to be labeled, but she loved the water.  U.S. Marine Rob Jones, her rowing partner, stepped on IUD in Afghanistan in 2010; like Oksana, he never looked back.  They will compete as trunk and arm rowers.   Video
http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nbc-news/48179578#48179578   ret. 7-16-12

Jason Gunter, Florida
“Double amputee trains for Ironman”
 Twenty years ago, firefighter Jason Gunter lost right arm and left leg to a boat propeller.  Now he is an attorney, husband, father, and athlete.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48202768/ns/local_news-fort_myers_fl/t/double-amputee-trains-ironman/  Ret. 7-20-12

 Geoff Turner, San Francisco
“SF Amputee Has Olympic Role Model”
Geoff Turner from San Francisco lost his leg in a motorcycle accident two decades ago.  But with prosthetic technology, he’s learned to run in marathons and more. Back then he had no role models, but now he’s got Oscar Pistorius to look up to.   [Note:  This was an MSNBC story, which has been removed.  Turner uses a running blade made by Ossur.]  Ret. 7-5-12

More on the running blade used by Pistorius and Geoff Turner, amputee marathon runner
“The Blade Runner – Oscar Pistorius” 
Chanman’s Blog

You will think I was scrapbooking online here, but this is an interesting story.  Read what you wish, but this man is a role model in multiple ways--double amputee, soldier, West Pointer, mentor, role model, motivator, leader, actor, African-American.  Bev

Colonel Greg Gadson, U.S.A.  
“From Army Colonel to movie star”
Resilient, Colonel Greg Gadson served and led in Kuwait, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  His life since has unfolded in many surprising ways, especially being cast as a hero in the movie Battleship.
In 2007 in Iraq, he was severely injured when his armored vehicle hit a roadside bomb.
At first he isolated himself, but quickly realized
I couldn’t stand quitting, couldn’t stand silence  couldn’t stand just giving up.
Col. Gaston became the first soldier to test a new prosthetic leg, went back to school to earn an MA, became co-captain of the New York Giants whom he helped motivate to the 2007 Super Bowl win.
You’re really truly not going to be exactly like you were before, and if that’s where you’re trying to go, then you’re going in the wrong direction, you’re going backwards.
Video in collaboration with The Grio, NBC’s African American news community
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/#47482762   Ret. 5-18-12

"Double amputee soldier takes command of Fort Belvoir"
A soldier injured by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2007 became the first double amputee to take command of a major military installation, the Army reported on its home page on Wednesday.  
http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/27/12441438-double-amputee-soldier-takes-command-of-fort-belvoir   Ret. 7-20-12

“Col. Greg Gadson takes over Fort Belvoir command”
Col. Gadson becomes the leader of a 46,000 soldier installation—the first time an amputee has been promoted to base commander.  This video and article mentions he was a mentor/advisor and honorary captain of the New York Giants.
http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/06/col-greg-gadson-taking-over-fort-belvoir-command-77138.html   Ret. 7-20-12

“Army Col. Greg Gadson serves as inspiration as Giants make Super Bowl run”
http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/02/army-col-greg-gadson-serves-as-inspiration-as-giants-make-super-bowl-run-72205.html   Ret. 7-20-12
"Col. Gregory Gadson in Battleship"
Fighting external battles in the movie, Mick learns the real fight toward becoming a full man -- is in his soul. It’s a lesson Gadson learned in Iraq.
When your whole life is turned upside down, you’ve got to reorient yourself and find your dignity… your energy and…your respect.  Those are real life struggles.

"Black Amputee In Battleship Movie Lost Legs In Iraq"
This video has more of the action clips from the movie and filming behind the scenes so it would appeal to youth visually. 
http://theurbandaily.com/1922852/greg-gadson-battleship-ready-for-action/   Ret. 12-12

"Col. injured in Iraq lands role in Battleship"
‘Interesting information about his prosthetics as well.
http://www.armytimes.com/news/2012/05/gannett-iraq-vet-battle-battleship-hollywood-movie-051712/     Ret. 7-12-12

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Online Mentor Training Update

For its 2012-2013 online mentor training, the Boren Mentoring Initiative will be using Mentoring Central, developed by iRT.  Today I visited by phone with iRT's Dr. Rebecca Stelter to learn progress.  http://www.mentoringcentral.net/

Five new lessons are in the process of being developed.  These include 1) initiation of the relationship (about meeting the first time with your mentee), 2) ethics and safety (in day-to-day encounters), 3) building relationships with your mentee (how to set goals and strengthen the relationship), 4) closure (how to close the relationship appropriately, not just leaving), and 5) boundaries (roles the mentor should not establish with the mentee and the mentee's family).  The ethics lesson, based upon research by Dr. Jean Rhodes, is creatively taught by the scenario of a day at a fair, a venue in which many situations for ethical choices arise. 

The in-person training component, being perfected, is based upon what's on the web, i.e., the first five lessons [See below.], with role-playing and discussion. This should take about 1 1/2- 2 hours in-person.  Policies and procedures of individual mentoring organizations can be inserted in the general presentation.

The first five lessons, aligning with the Training Benchmarks in the Third Edition of MENTOR's Effective Practice for Mentoring, provide the foundation for beginning a mentoring relationship. These include 1) Introduction to Mentoring Central, 2) Motivation and Expectations, 3) Roles Mentors Should and Should Not Play, 4) Behavioral Characteristics of Effective Mentors, and 5) The Importance of Having Fun in a Mentoring Relationship.

Mentoring Central is/will be online, on-demand, and 24-7 with multimedia delivery, pre- and post- surveys, news briefs, downloadable key-point flyers, Mentor Wiki, and interactivity such as journals, scenario-based learning, and quizzes.  Mentors can return to a lesson as needed.  A Mentor Forum is also available for mentors' discussions.

This program is researched-based mentoring.  Dr. Jean Rhodes and Dr. Janis Kupersmidt provide commentary and instruct the course, although videotaped segments feature actual mentors, mentees, parents of mentees, mentoring program staff, and research experts.  [This and the previous two paragraphs are close paraphrases from the website.]

Note to All:  Big Brothers Big Sisters has its own customized Mentoring Central program, which requires a separate passcode for BBBS.  At the National Mentoring Summit in January 2012, I met the researchers and developers and viewed lessons, and in February I purchased my individual license to use the site.

To OFE's Academic All-State Scholar Mentors:
I will call again in early August to learn to purchase for the Boren Mentoring Initiative the entire ten-lesson package and group administrator portion; then I will invite you to enroll via email.  As a group, you may be asked to participate in a survey of efficacy for the new ten-lesson package!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Children's Activities - Olympics

Sometimes an idea spurs us on to more creativity, but at other times directions are essential.  Almost any activity can be scaled up or down for age-appropriateness or numbers of youths.

Note: I could not load this video from the NBC site or the Toy Portfolio site; however, the ideas of using maps to research (online) Olympians’ countries, books (often free at libraries), history of the Olympic games, fractions, and other educational topics don’t need a video.  Below is a link to ToyPortfolio—not to endorse sales—to show more ideas we can adapt.

“Keep Kids Active This Summer with Olympic Fun”
Olympics Activities for Kids - Fractions, Reading, Geography

"London 2012 Olympics:  How to Engage Your Kids"  
Geography and books, magazines, internet, aps, etc.

“Young readers get in Olympic spirit” (Al Roker’s youth book club)
Mystery set in Olympics venue; heroine is the Olympian in the book Rush for the Gold

Activity Village’s "Hold Your Own Olympic Games"
Activity Village is a useful website for parents, (mentors), and teachers all year.  This link includes mascots, indoor and outdoor activities, and Olympic food—all with a suggested time table.  ‘User-friendly indeed! 

In addition, Activity Village features a MATH activity section by grade level.  Youths and parents will love this.  Website buttons run the gamut from jokes, videos, crafts, seasons, printables, puzzles, and education to much more.

Parenting.com not only has activities but also feel-good articles and interviews with Olympians and/or family, e.g., the first pregnant Olympian from Malaysia, interview with Debbie Phelps, advice from Olympian parents, and others.  http://www.parenting.com/find/olympics

One general summer activity list includes 191 fun summer activities.

ehow mom has many pages about Olympic activities, and some of the ideas are found via the resources and references at the bottom of each article.  A few examples:

"Summer Olympics Games for Kids"
Throwing, Running, Getting to the Finish Line, Water Sports

"Olympic Kids Games and Activities"
Balloon Between the Knee Race, Birdie Feather Race, Discus Throw, Egg-A-Thon Race/Relay, Hammer Throw, Javelin Throw, Olympic Ring Hoop Loop, 100-Inch Dash, Shot-Put for Distance, Snowball Ring Toss

"Olympic Activities for Kids"
Egg and Spoon Relay Race, Discus Throw Competition, Suitcase Relay Race, and Water Balloon Toss

"Kids Olympics Indoor Activities"
Includes making a ceremonial torch and Olympic medals

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oklahoma County and Youth

Drug and alcohol problems involve youths and their families.  In fact, much drug abuse is from prescription medicine found in the homes of parents or grandparents.  Often what happens within a family can impact generations unless intervention occurs.

At a Kiwanis Club of Oklahoma City meeting, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater talked about “good” happenings in the correctional realm in Oklahoma County.  Many nonviolent offenders, once you get to know them, may be decent people who, unable to control their addictions, made and still make poor choices.  Sending all drug and alcohol offenders to prison is not always the best choice. 
Among better choices in Oklahoma County are: 
  • Drug Court (for adults), founded by former District Attorney Robert H. “Bob” Macy
  • ReMerge Program (new for women offenders)
  • Mental Health Program (within the Oklahoma County Jail, Sheriff John Whetzel)
  • Vet Court or Veteran Diversion, founded by David Prater

ReMerge, only about a year old, is currently under the auspices of United Way but is forming its own 501(c)(3) and soon creating its own website.  Excerpts about ReMerge:
ReMerge is a female diversion program designed to transform pregnant women and mothers facing incarceration into productive community citizens.
The majority of these women are nonviolent, drug addicted, unemployed, victims of childhood physical and/or sexual abuse and victims of adult domestic violence who are raising their children alone.  For approximately one-third of these women, their mother and/or father were incarcerated.
ReMerge is a diversion program providing an alternative to incarceration.  Priority selection is given to women who are pregnant, women with a child or children under five years of age, and women with multiple minor children.
Program phases include assessment and stabilization, treatment and education, demonstration of skills and recovery, preparation for graduation and maintenance of acquired skills. 

The Oklahoma County Veteran’s Program (OCVP) is a diversion program designed to divert veterans involved with the criminal justice system from prison, to reduce veteran’s involvement in future crimes, and place them into appropriate rehabilitative alternatives. The program is for veterans who are currently facing prosecution for one or more criminal cases. The program offers offenders a treatment option that is supervised by the OCVP team.

[Note:  Sheri Keenan, Ph.D., Cameron University, has stated that courts handle youth offenders differently from county to county and state to state.] 

Oklahoma County Criminal Process [What happens after being arrested]

Truancy [What is it and what happens?]

Survival Skills for Young Women
...to teach teenage girls to be strong, smart and independent young women. 
This program was developed in response to an ever increasing proportion of females being referred to the juvenile justice system. It is evident that sending these girls to programs designed for a predominantly male audience is rarely beneficial to them. The Survival Skills program was designed to provide a positive approach to preparing young women for a productive life.  [Parents may request daughters be referred, although most girls are court-involved.]

SEA Program “Service-Education-Accountability” (once adjudicated)
The SEA Program provides supervised work for children involved through the juvenile court system to complete community service to pay restitution to their victims.  There are 8-10 juveniles participating on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.  Litter clean-up, gardening, graffiti removal, planting, packaging food, organizing clothes, leaf raking and painting are a few examples of the types of work the youth are involved in.  We contract with non profit organizations.

On another note...

Oklahoma Sheriff’s Department Office – Law Enforcement Explorers
Post #2199 meets at Francis Tuttle two evenings a month.

C.O.P. Program
The Oklahoma County Juvenile Bureau has developed a Community Outreach Prevention Program to assist our community and schools on the topics of Bullies and Weapons. We see a great need in our community and schools to bring awareness to the public concerning the effects of Bullies and Weapons. [The statistics on bullying and fear are surprising.]

CRASH Courts Raising Awareness of Students High School
A three-part program taking place in a high school gymnasium or auditorium…

Friday, July 13, 2012

Outdoor Activities for Elementary-Age Students

To encourage outside playground participation for all students at Mark Twain Elementary School’s Super Kids Day in May 2012, James Thatcher, the physical education teacher and basketball coach, devised a method we could all adapt at home or at any outdoor event.  [Mr. Thatcher, aka Coach Thatcher, is highly respected and liked by students, faculty, and staff.] 

Released by grade so that each group had easy access to the games, Mr. Thatcher gave each one a simple handmade lanyard with a list of all the activities available.  [This design worked well except for really active little guys whose paper list could not survive long; some kept these coveted signs of completion in their pockets while others simply lost them.]  At the end of each period, students were supposed to return their records of accomplishments to their teachers for congratulations.

Students had three chances at each activity; activity supervisors such as the Devon mentors or other volunteers, checked each activity, coached vociferously, cheered success, or offered encouragement. 

Some adults added a smiley face or exclamations for baskets made.  Lists also had “snacks” and “drinks” written in at the bottom.  Knowing they had only three tries at the games, most students politely waited in line.  A few came back and asked permission to try again after they finished the circuit.  The goal was participating, not winning.  For the youngest children, a bit of cheating may have occurred at the frisbee toss as supervisors picked up and tossed a few missed throws into the baskets while the wee ones were distracted.  Activities included:  basketball throw, soccer success, football hoop throw, obstacle course, standing long jump, bean bag toss, jump rope race (harder than you think), three-legged race, bowling, and Frisbee toss.

Corporate and community sponsors and the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) provided some of the goodies, and the PTO oversaw snow cones, drinks, and other snacks.  [Mark Twain's PTO is heavily invested in the school.]  The climax of the day was the fire department's arrival to hose down some hot children and adults.

Best practices:  encouraging everyone to participate in all ten activities, focusing on participation, devising games that all students could do to some degree, separating children by grades and by time so that the bigger ones did not crowd out or intimidate the younger ones, having parents so happily involved, and recruiting volunteers who served two-hour shifts to help teachers oversee their children.

Congratulations to the school faculty and staff, the PTO, the community and corporate volunteers, the firemen, and especially to Coach Thatcher!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Video Appeal

Although this video's intent is not expressly for mentoring, the message clearly is an urgent appeal for becoming involved in a student's life.

Mentoring is building a relationship with a child or teenager by being consistent, present, trustworthy, encouraging, and kind, i.e., behaving in a manner demonstrating that one adult cares for that unique youth. 

Research shows that one-on-one mentoring one hour a week is most effective, although successful variations exist.

In the title and video below, substitute the name of your town or your city for Oklahoma City's and imagine the difference you can make in one youth's life.

Volunteer to mentor for the 2012-13 school year. 

Rise UP Oklahoma City!
Our kids. Our city. Our future. Rise up!

http://okckids.com/?p=3231       Ret. 7-12-12

Mentor Focus, Corporate

Near the end of the 2011-12 school year, I volunteered a couple of hours at Oklahoma City's Mark Twain Elementary School for its Super Kids Day.  While there, I met several Devon Energy mentors, who had also volunteered for a short time.  One of the mentors shared his story. 

I have tutored the same student at Mark Twain Elementary for the past three years.  When I started I really didn’t know what to expect, but I thought it would be a good experience, and my employer has a relationship with the school and actively encourages anyone who is interested to participate.   
At first it was tough to get know a third-grade student, especially mine as he could have a short attention span.  By the end of the first year, we had built a relationship, and things were better.  I asked my student if he wanted a different tutor the following year, and he said, “No way!”  So, I signed up the following year and again the year after that.   
This past year after the summer off, I was greeted with a bear hug from my student.  It has been great watching my student grow and learn.  The last I checked he was leading his class in a reading race to read the most and earn points.  I know he will do well in the future.  I’m bummed not to have the same student anymore, but I look forward to meeting another next fall.
Josh Kirschner
New Ventures
Devon Energy
Oklahoma City, OK

Photo:  Devon mentors Jennifer Spaniol, Alicia Hewlett, and Josh Kirschner after overseeing
playground games on Super Kids Day, 5-24-12


Devon Energy, a colossal supporter of Oklahoma City as well as the state of Oklahoma, sponsors strong programs in mentoring and education.  Read about some of Devon's educational partnerships, e.g.,  its Clara Luper scholarship at Oklahoma City University, involvement with OERB’s Petro Pros program, Devon NULITES (National Urban League Incentives to Excel and Succeed) Youth Program, and other high-impact ideas.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Role Model

Mentoring began early in this successful business woman's life, but she was later mentored in the workplace where she subsequently developed a professional mentoring program.  Mentoring produces endless ripples.  Beverly

My Mentor: Home Depot CFO Talks About People Who Inspired Her
By: Caroline Wilbert

Carol Tome grew up in a small Wyoming town and is regularly recognized as one of the country’s top female executives. Tome, chief financial offer and executive vice president of corporate services at Home Depot, says that each leg of her journey has been marked by great mentors, starting in childhood with her mother and grandmothers. Tome chatted with DivineCaroline recently about some of the mentors who helped her get to where she is today.

Q: Can you talk about a mentor who had a big influence on you?

A: I am lucky to have had a lot of great mentors, all the way back to my mother and my grandmothers. I grew up in a town of 3,000, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and now I am the CFO of the fourteenth largest company in the country. I give a lot of credit to them for instilling self-worth and confidence in me. I never worried about the way I looked. They told me, “You are wonderful. You can do anything.” And I believed them.

Q: Were they working women?

A: My mother was a schoolteacher until she had children and then she was a stay-at-home mom. My maternal grandmother lost her husband when she was in her thirties, so she worked. My paternal grandmother didn’t work, but she graduated from the University of Michigan in the early 1900s. They were strong women, very involved in their community, very financially savvy.

Q: What about professional mentors?

A: After grad school, I went into the training program at the largest commercial bank in Colorado. This was 1981. One of my mentors was an executive there, a woman, which was very unusual, particularly at a commercial bank. Her name was Mary Louise, but she went by M.L. Nobody outside the bank knew from her name that she was a woman. She was tough. She was really influential on me, partly because she had done so well in an environment not really geared to women. She had spunk and tenacity. We would go out—I don’t do this anymore—but we would go out drinking scotch on the rocks. I was just keeping up with her. Even then, I knew I was going to have ups and downs and it was important to have the kind of tenacity that she had.
Q: Is there any advice that one of your mentors gave you that has stuck with you?

A: It is important to have bosses that will tell you, “This is where you excel, and this is where you de-rail.” Jim Colgate told me I had great passion, but he also told me, “You get too angry. Your anger will de-rail you.”

Q: Do you think about that advice now?

A: All the time.

Q: Any other specific advice?

A: I observe people all the time. I have learned a lot by watching people, about what to do and what not to do. Leadership is not about position; it is all about action. I had a boss who got mad at someone and threw a piece of paper down the table. That was really destructive and I learned that I didn’t want to act like that.

Q: What about at Home Depot?

A: I joined The Home Depot in 1995. (Former) board member Faye Wilson took me under her wing right away. She was tremendously supportive. She was always talking me up.

Q: Is it important for women to mentor each other or do you see mentoring as gender neutral?

A: I used to say it didn’t matter, that gender-neutral was fine. Now I think it does matter. That is why I started a mentoring program for women at The Home Depot, for executives at the director level and above, called the Velvet Hammers.

First published May 2007
ret. 5-1-12

More recent article more focused on her business leadership:  http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_04/b4212064704660.htm   ret. 7-6-12

Note:  Tome is also the 2012 Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Chairman!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fundraising - Meals

Updated 4-16-15 

Many people are resourceful during hard economic times, or sometimes one person simply has a creative idea regardless of the economy.  The two models here can easily be scaled up or down for any community.  Most valuable is that they become community-wide—or even spread into other communities—for multiple causes.  Both are from NBC Nightly News’ “Making a Difference” series.  [Another benefit is that neither project takes state or federal money.]  

“Something as simple as a fish fry can go a long way”
The Gilford Knights of Columbus—and now the entire community of Gilford, Connecticut—support community nonprofits through a fish fry.  What began as a fundraiser for the church has become a community institution for organizations that help others.  People of all ages participate and enjoy each other every week.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/#46850141  Ret. 5-13-12



Skip to the next fundraiser if you are not interested in this article about the event’s creator Jim Mancini and his original vision. The photo is of Jim Mancini from the link below.

Jim Mancini, Guilford 

Ret. 7-10-12

Dining for Women  “Using potluck dinners to transform lives”     

Finding the MSNBC news link may be impossible unless it is cached; however, the program, network, and hand up for women has multiplied extensively since the original post in 2012. 'Impressive! 

Dining for Women potluck dinner fundraising, earning about $700, began eight years ago; now the dinner with friends has 8,000 members in 38 states.  Each member makes a donation for what she would spend eating at a restaurant.  The average donation nationwide is about $38, which becomes about $42,000. Every month the earned money is sent to a new charity.  Diners not only share food and conversation, but they learn about a grassroots nonprofit organization somewhere in the world.  Money has been spent on helping women and girls in Guatemala, Nepal, Kenya, Afghanistan, etc.  These “potlucks with a purpose” are really girls’ nights out making a difference.  About 500,000 women have benefited at the date of this video report.  The photo above is from the Dining for Women website listed at the end of today's blog.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Academic All-State Scholar Mentoring

As part of the Boren Mentoring Initiative, Academic All-State Scholars may enlist to mentor elementary students at school near their colleges.  Below is one AA-SS mentor's mentoring recollection in Weatherford, where she is a student at Southwestern OSU (SWOSU).  (Not all schools have the same mentoring program structure, i.e., "Early Bird" with reading focus, as Weatherford does.  Also not all mentees are stress-free-- regardless of young age.)

Kudos to Quynh for making it up that early!

Here is my experience with mentoring in two Weatherford Elementary Schools: Burcham and East Elementary. 
I thoroughly enjoyed being in the classrooms and interacting with the students.  It was great to see their faces light up when I stepped in the classroom, and it was great to help them figure out a difficult problem or lend a listening ear when the teacher was busy.  I loved fostering their love for reading by sitting with and letting them read to me,  I think it's great that Weatherford schools have such established reading programs for elementary students!
The biggest downside to mentoring was waking up at 7:30 AM.  I didn't look too put together on most days, but I made sure to never miss a day reading to my student.  For me, volunteer days served as a great reprieve to the school stresses of science formulas, financial burdens, and tests.
Being able to interact with kids who were innocent and stress-free was a weekly reminder that fun and life exist outside of pharmacy school and studying. Mentoring was humbling, refreshing, and rewarding.  Both elementary schools treated me extremely fairly; the faculty and staff were respectful and even took my finals schedule into consideration for the last weeks of the semester.
I do plan on participating in both school's reading/mentoring programs next year, but I would love to mentor a student one-on-one through the All-State mentoring program...on behalf of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.
As for summer and future school plans, I am currently in pharmacy school at SWOSU.  [Quynh has finished her summer education plan, pharmacy rotation at INTEGRIS Southwest Hospital.]

Quynh Phi

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Activities for Mentors and Families


The Oklahoma Department of Tourism offers many free and low-cost ideas for children and families.  If you pack a lunch and drinks to decrease expenses, the state’s many festivals are educational as well as interesting. 

 Oklahoma City Area

'More family-friendly activities from Metro Family magazine—a helpful resource all year long!

Tulsa Area                               

“Cheap Things to Do in Tulsa” (I did not look for prices, but a kaleidoscope museum and a doll/miniature museum were listed!  Wow!)  This site is for adults, too.

Linnaeus Teaching Garden at Woodward Park
Always investigate museums, libraries, and sometimes college campuses.  Often these entities partner for free or inexpensive summer programs.  For example, the Gilcrease Museum in collaboration with the Tulsa City-County Library’s children’s department has offered and will again offer “Kids Dig Books” featuring specific topics, but the University of Tulsa has a strong partnership in many of the activities throughout the year.  Age groups vary; often children must be accompanied.  Sometimes programs repeat.  http://www.utulsa.edu/events and http://gilcrease.utulsa.edu/Learn
  • July 7 – Gilcrease’s KID FLIX - "George Washington's Mother" and "Pups of Liberty" July 7th
  • July 7 – “Art Encounters” 
  • July 10th and July 13th – “Mini-Masters – Artistic Materials” (Ages 3-6, accompanied by an adult)
  • July 13 – “Kids Dig Books – Animal Tales”
  • July 14 - "American Doll Tea Party" ($12 for nonmembers)
Summer Concert Series, July 10th, and family-friendly Free Tulsa Music Festival, July 27th, among other opportunities.  Explore the site!
Jenks Aquarium “Smile Club” printable coupon for free admission—you can also find online discount coupons for admissions.  
August 4 – Jenks: A Hot August Night Car & Truck Show  (Always call to confirm event:  918-299-5005.)
For next year!
Summer Programs at UT.  The 2012 Camp Incredible at University School featured six one-week sessions from 9:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. with extended hours if necessary.  Camp fee.
Gilcrease Summer Camp (Ages 4-14)   This is a collaboration with the Henry Zarrow Center for Art and Education.  http://gilcrease.utulsa.edu/Learn/Summer-Camp

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fundraiser Using HS Athletes

A win-win for participating athletes, their families, multiple communities, and a mentoring organization serving Rogers County, this two-day athletic competition, mentioned in Mentoring Matters, our April mentoring newsletter, was a success in multiple ways.  Beverly

Volunteers for Youth's Green Country All-Star Weekend

Claremore area coaches nominated their outstanding senior athletes for girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, baseball, softball, and cheerleading.

The fundraising proceeds came from ticket sales, gate admissions, concessions, and advertising sales in a program sold for $2 at each game. While the Green Country All-Star Weekend was not the major fundraiser for Volunteers for Youth, the agency enjoyed the opportunity to put the spotlight on kids that are successful and doing the right thing.

103 senior all-star athletes from 21 area schools laced up their high tops, hoisted their bats, and dusted off their pom poms for the 2012 Green Country All Star Games May 24th - 25th at Catoosa Public Schools.

Boys and girls basketball tipped off the event on Thursday evening May 24th at 5 p.m.  All-Star cheerleaders also performed at the basketball games.  The softball game was at 10 a.m. on May 25th, followed by the baseball game at 2 p.m.

The Green Country All-Star event allows senior athletes from area schools an opportunity to showcase their talent to family, friends, and college coaches.   It is a unique opportunity for them to compete with and against the elite senior players from the area.  The athletes get the opportunity to close their high school careers in high-profile competition.

Volunteers for Youth coordinated the event.  The Green Country All-Star Weekend provided Volunteers for Youth the ability to continue serving public school students through mentoring and safe and structured after-school activities. 

Melynda Stone, Executive Director
Volunteers for Youth...because they're worth it!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

SHINE for Students

What a creative incentive to show community service!  Can this be adapted for your community or school district!  Can your mentors and mentees participate in something similar?  Beverly

Students SHINE in county program

Brian Maughan
By Brian Maughan, County Commissioner for District 2

Commencement season is over, and this year some 100 central Oklahoma high school and college—students got to don graduation gowns with something extra—a red, white and blue cord that recognized their dedication to community service and volunteerism.

Those cords were awarded to them by the SHINE for Students program I created to encourage young people to get involved in their community. Any Oklahoma County high school or college student can earn the cord and an accompanying certificate by performing at least 100 hours of certified community service work.

The students pick the causes or organizations that benefit from their labors. Some choose to work in school organizations, others devote time to Scout or church groups and still others work at a wide variety of places like animal shelters or nursing homes.

The one thing they all have in common is doing good while they learn the value of volunteerism. For many, those 100 hours they spent helping others in school will become a lifelong habit.

For example, Western Heights High Schools honored 26 SHINE for Students graduates at their commencement. Among the volunteer and community service projects those young people completed were litter pickup, graffiti removal, rehabbing old homes, helping with neighborhood nights out and building playgrounds.

One Western Heights SHINE graduate, Taylor Daniel, was also honored as a state finalist in the Spirit of Community awards program sponsored by Prudential Insurance.

Those honored students joined others from area high schools and colleges in proudly wearing their SHINE cords at graduation. They are among the best examples we have of how young people can get involved in the community and make the neighborhoods better places.

Any Oklahoma County student in grades 9-12 or college can qualify for SHINE for Students by contacting a school counselor or my office at 713-1502. All they have to do is complete at least 100 hours of community service during their school careers. Once that work has been certified by a teacher or official of the benefiting agency, those students will be presented with a SHINE cord and certificate.

Published by The East Word News, Eastern Oklahoma County’s News Source Guest Commentary, 6-14-12; posted with permission of Commissioner Maughan

http://eastwordnews.com/oklahoma/article-3283-students-shine-in-county-program.html       ret. 6-26-12

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day and Learning

Happy Independence Day of the Still Greatest Nation on Earth!  Without education, we can never be free; therefore, we share with mentors and parents some websites that will teach, inspire, and entertain all year whether from a computer at a mentoring site or an iPhone or iPad. 

Having Fun with History

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence partners with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Mount Vernon to strengthen early American history education in Oklahoma.  Here are some links that might be fun to share with young people in your life:

Colonial Williamsburg Kids Zone – Meet Colonial people, take a virtual tour of Williamsburg and enjoy fun games about America’s past.  http://www.history.org/kids/games/index.cfm    

George Washington’s World for Kids –  Explore Mount Vernon’s children’s website featuring a 3-D Washington’s treasures game, Harpsichord Hero, archaeology memory game and other fun activities. 

Having Fun with Civics

iCivics   http://www.icivics.org/    
Quoting from the website:

iCivics prepares young Americans to become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens by creating free and innovative educational materials.
In 2009, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded iCivics to reverse Americans’ declining civic knowledge and participation. Securing our democracy, she realized, requires teaching the next generation to understand and respect our system of governance. Today iCivics comprises not just our board and staff, but also a national leadership team of state supreme court justices, secretaries of state, and educational leaders and a network of committed volunteers. Together, we are committed to passing along our legacy of democracy to the next generation. 
In just two years, iCivics has produced 16 educational video games as well as vibrant teaching materials that have been used in classrooms in all 50 states. Today we offer the nation’s most comprehensive, standards-aligned civics curriculum that is available freely on the Web. You can see all that we've been up to in our latest annual report! Ret. 6-26-12

You may have heard or read about this site when retired United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor visited Oklahoma in April 2012.  Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Noma D. Gurich has applauded this site and its mission many times so here it is for all of you.   

Fun and Information about Virtually Anything

kids.usa.gov     http://kids.usa.gov/index.shtml 
This is a well-designed learning and teaching opportunity for kids, teens, and grown-ups (teachers/parents) with interactive “Learn Things” such as jobs, music, history, government, math, and other topics by grade levels, grades K-5, 6-8, and adult along with games, videos, and so much more.  Imagine a fun game about estuaries!  The jobs’ section ranging from CIA agents and botanists to agricultural scientists and loan officers is particularly interesting for mentors of elementary and middle school mentors or just for the children themselves.  Job explanations and interactive activities are age-appropriately worded.   

May your Fourth of July and other patriotic celebrations be stuffed with memories made with friends and family, from cooking out to watching fireworks to playing outdoor games. These holidays reminds us to talk about our nation's history, what independence means, and what are our responsibilities as citizens--all year.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tulsa-area Camp Fire Activities


Camp Fire USA is a contemporary, inclusive, coeducational organization, which welcomes all young people, regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation or other aspects of diversity.  Green Country Council, serving the Tulsa metro area, offers an array of camp and outdoor programs on three campsites, as well, including hiking, cookouts, kayaking, camping and other outdoor adventures.

This summer, Camp Fire USA is partnering with our national organization to offer a specialized “Thrive” camp session, offering older youth a chance to do all the camp things they love, like swimming and kayaking and cooking out, and also learn to THRIVE!  What’s that, you may wonder?  Teens and tweens participating in this group will be challenged to explore their future—their dreams and talents—and learn strategies that help them get to where they want to be.  Best of all, if they choose to be among the FIRST to participate in Step-It-Up-2-Thrive, THEIR CAMP FEES WILL BE GREATLY DISCOUNTED.

Camp Fire Green Country Council’s Remaining Session Dates:

Although at this late date, openings for these session and any available scholarships* may be unavailable.

Session 2:  July 8-14 and Session 3:  July 15-21
(Thrive Specialty Sessions* during Resident Camps.)
At various prices different camps for grades 1-5, 3-5, 6-12, 7-12, 10-12, and 11-12

Camp Waluhili Day Camp (Chouteau):  July 9-13 and July 16-20, 1st – 5th grade, $150
Camp Okiwanee Day Camp (Sapulpa): July 9-13, 1st-7th grade, $150 

Register online www.tulsacampfire.org/camp or call 918-592-2267 for more information.


Camp Fire USA Heart of Oklahoma Council

Although many camps do cost money, some scholarships and openings may still be available. Note the various opportunities of Camp Fire USA Heart of Oklahoma Council. 



Pamela Ballard, Executive Director for Camp Fire USA Heart of Oklahoma Council, announced open registration for the first ever Camp C.A.N.O.E. (Children with Autism Need Outdoor Experiences.) 

Open to children with autism, grades K-12, Camp C.A.N.O.E. is a summer day camp designed specifically for children with autism and other abilities.

Camp C.A.N.O.E. will be held at Camp DaKaNi, a beautiful 33-acre wooded campground in Oklahoma City, which has been owned and operated by Camp Fire USA Heart of Oklahoma Council for more than fifty years.

The mission of Camp Fire USA and Camp C.A.N.O.E. is to build caring, confident youth and future leaders.  “Each day will be filled with a variety of outdoor activities to enhance the development of social, motor, and sensory processing skills--such as fishing, canoeing, rock-climbing, tackling the low-elements challenge course, enjoying the thrill of the zip line, and hiking our trails.” said Ballard.

Ballard continued, “The young people at Camp C.A.N.O.E. will be working together with their counselors in close-knit groups throughout the week to learn teamwork, build self-reliance, confidence, communication and social skills, problem solving, independent thinking, physical activity, and fine and gross motor skill development.”

Camp C.A.N.O.E. will be held July 23-27, Monday through Friday, from 9 a. m. to 3:30 p. m. with before and after care available for campers needing early arrival or later departure.  Enrollment is limited to 50 campers.

Discounts are available for families with multiple children and some scholarships are available.

Remaining OKC area summer camps at variable prices depending upon age, pending openings, include:  MaKaYa - July 5-7, Session 5 - July 9-13, and Session 6 - July 16-20.

For additional information, please call 405-254-2069 or 405-254-2080 for Penn.

Tulsa Camp Fire Green Country Council also has some sessions in July.  See www.tulsacampfire.org or call 918-592-2267.  More tomorrow on Tulsa's programs.