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?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bridges for Youth without Support

While in Norman, I stopped by a new member of our mentoring network--Bridges, "Empowering students who live alone to succeed."  Reading on the website or about an organization is never quite the same as visiting. With Debra Krittenbrink, executive director, out of the office, Jen Anderson spoke passionately about Bridges and its students and gave me a tour.  Her description clarifying the range of clients and some of the services is at the bottom.  Of course, view the website. 

One of the quadruplexes for students. Each apartment has a bedroom, kitchen/eating area and bath.

Community organizations and volunteers decorate each apartment so they are pleasant and often chic.

Inside the community building/room were senior portraits of graduates and above them the lettering painted on the wall.  This is a terrific idea! 

Community Room

Rotary built a two-story building that houses the large "family" or community room pictured below, the offices, a computer room, a kitchen where they can cook together, and a laundry room.  Although students can cook in their apartments, they enjoy (and need) family time.

Jen mentioned the digital or technical divide that children living alone have, e.g., many assignments must now be done on computers and emailed directly to the teachers.  Work and library hours are not always compatible so the inhouse computer room is essential.

Once a year for the past two years, alumni come back to share stories, encourage youth at Bridges, and celebrate their bonds and achievements. 

From Jen:

We serve teens and young adults that are homeless and trying to finish their high school education.  These young people come from a variety of circumstances.  Some students are dealing with family homelessness and need a stable home outside of a shelter.  Others have parents who are incarcerated or deceased, and no other stable housing plan is available to them.  Many of our students have dealt with parental substance abuse or parental mental health problems, and are no longer able to live in their family home due to these problems.  Additionally, we also serve young people who have been kicked out of their homes unfairly.  The young people in Bridges receive social services and low-rent housing, along with the guidance to finish high school and make plans for their future.  All students receive comprehensive case management services, a weekly Life Skills class, a community volunteer who serves as a mentor, and educational advocacy.

Jennifer Anderson
We provide intensive support for our students, so we have high expectations of them.  The young people in our program must be enrolled in school and making steady progress toward their high school diploma.  They are required to maintain good attendance and passing grades.  They also must work part-time, and pay a sliding scale rent for their apartments.  Additionally, they must commit to staying drug and alcohol free, and must not allow their friends or family members to bring drugs or alcohol onto our property.  The majority of the young people we work with go on to some form of high education, and we help them with school applications, scholarship applications and federal financial aid forms.

Jennifer Anderson, MSW                               
Director of Social Services
1670 North Stubbeman
Norman, OK 73069

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Grant Opportunity, After School Programs


The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) has announced funding for 2012-2013 Oklahoma out-of-school time programs through federally funded 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) grants.

[Forwarded to us by Brenda Wheelock,
OFE's Director of Public Relations and Development]

Monday, September 10, 2012

Peer Mediation Training: Elementary and Secondary

Goal: "To train school representatives, including students, from around Oklahoma to develop a peer mediation program in the school they represent."

Locations:  Tulsa and Oklahoma City

Ideally this would involve "a training team of five people: Administrator, Counselor, Teacher, and (2) Students [preferably one female and one male]" to begin implementing in a school; however, mentor organizations can encourage local schools or use your mentees (with mentors attending).

Scouting, 4-H, college groups, and other teams of five can also be trained.  This is a life skill. 

Jane McConnell, the LRE Coordinator and a former Norman school teacher, says peer mediation was and is a beneficial way of life in Norman schools. 

See the website for dates, application, and video from Dibble Middle School.

FREE training!

                                                                                   Google free clip art from

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mentor Receives National Award

Doris Long, Mentoring Director, Little Dixie CAA in Antlers, Oklahoma, sent us this special recognition announcment and interesting newsletter.  Passport to the Future, her mentoring program, serves children of prisoners.  (A road trip to Antlers to meet Doris and see the program is now on my to-do list. Photo at right courtesy of the OKHP.)

Little Dixie CAA's website and past newsletters have many creative ideas and heart-warming stories. Although not to detract from Clinton Crawley's dedication and award, a quick read of the newsletters includes a reading contest to distribute backpacks, Doris Long's winning an award from the Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program (2011), mentored children decorating cookies for nursing homes as well as painting large yard ornaments for a motionless parade, crafts a volunteer taught the mentees, and much more.

We have not posted a newsletter previously and may never again, but the full August 2012 issue is below.  Clinton is pictured on pages one and six.

Congratulations, Clinton, Doris, CAA staff, and the townspeople of Antlers!   

Doris writes in her email about mentor Clinton Crawley:
Attached is our agency newsletter with an article about one of our mentors, Clinton Crawley.  He was awarded the Jayne Thomas Grassroots Volunteer Award by the National Partnership of Community Action Agencies.
He has been a mentor and volunteer with my program since 2005 and has mentored several young men that have gone on to be successful.  He has provided transportation and been a chaperone at nearly every one of our activities and events.
Doris Long
Mentoring Program Director
Little Dixie CAA
603 S.W. "B" Street
Antlers, Oklahoma 74523
It is better to build strong children than to fix broken men.