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?

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