Sunday, February 17, 2013

School Climate & Healthy Conversations Resources

"The Governor’s Prevention Partnership Positive School Climate Initiative is grounded in the understanding of what each individual child needs to be a successful learner. A positive learning environment, free from the threats of violence, bullying, alcohol or drug abuse, is proven to help a young person succeed against these odds. Today, the state requires that every school adopt a policy on bullying and designate an on-site staff person to the issue. Our job is to help.

7-Step Positive School Climate Resource

Elements of Effective School Climate
1. Strong Administrator buy-in and support
2. Effective school policy
3. School Climate Committee in place to address bullying and school climate
4. Assessment
5. Data driven decision making
6. Program and practices
7. Measuring and evaluating

Downloadable Publications

HEALTHY CONVERSATIONS: "A Mentor's Guide to Encouraging Healthy, Active Lifestyles Among Youth"

Program managers and mentors...this toolkit is a great resources to help you, help your mentees make positive choices while maintaining healthy boundaries.

HEALTHY CONVERSATIONS: "A Mentor's Guide To Preventing Youth Tobacco Use"

Program managers and mentors...this toolkit is a great resources to help you, help your mentees make positive choices while maintaining healthy boundaries.

A Parent's Guide To Preventing Underage Drinking

This guide provides a comprehensive, step-by-step approach that equips parents to promote positive youth decision-making regarding alcohol use.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

During the last 15 years, mentoring has become one of the country’s most popular interventions to improve the lives of disadvantaged and at-risk youth.

The Society for Research in Child Development, Sharing youth and child development knowledge, Volume 24, Issue 3, 2010

Friday, February 15, 2013

Innovative Mission Mentors, Fairview

Once again Fairview's Mission Mentors has created innovative strategies. 

Mission Mentors is one of Oklahoma's top four successful mentoring models identified by the Boren Mentoring Initiative.  Adaptable anywhere, it is particularly effective in small- to medium-sized communities.

Congratulations to all the citizens
of Fairview for making this model work!                                      

Thanks to Superintendent Rocky Burchfield, Match Support Specialist Randi Lackey, and
the Mission Mentors Board of Directors:

Cindy Bartel
Jennifer Burchfield
Kris Ewbank
Vicki Ewbank
Susie Harder
Susan Smith

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Involving the Governor

Below is the link to Governor Mary Fallin’s pro-mentoring PSA, a part of a year-long campaign to promote youth mentoring in Oklahoma. 

Governor Fallin graciously did this on behalf of all of you who mentor.  Your organizations are listed in our mentoring directory at so anyone interested can look there for your program and contact information.

  • Post on Facebook, Twitter, Pininterest, Instagram, other social media venues. 
  • Incorporate with your digital signature for a month. 
  • Post the link on your websites.
  • Request television stations in your area to run the PSA, which they can access through this link; however, the best way to convince a station is in person with the link available to show on a mobile device.  
  • Share the link internally and/or externally if a business, municipality , school or other organization.
Spread of this video undoubtedly will help recruit new mentors and garner support.

 Let’s make it viral in Oklahoma!

Governor Fallin’s “Oklahoma’s Year of Mentoring” PSA

Friday, February 8, 2013

Governor Fallin Makes Mentoring Video

Governor Mary Fallin was gracious to make a video PSA to promote youth mentoring for Oklahoma's Year of Mentoring.  We thank Governor Fallin and her video team for their time, expertise and kindness. 
L-R: Nick Betz, Kevin Lowe, Eric Leslie, Governor Mary Fallin, Mat Miller and Bart Vleugels



Thursday, February 7, 2013

Body Image in Youth

In mentoring as in other endeavors, we copy or adapt whatever we can.  Below is a section of a 2-6-13 email from Sarah Kremer at Friends for Youth's Mentoring Institute.  Addressing self-esteem in both young males and females is critical. 


For many adolescents, the changes they’re going through - physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially - can be overwhelming and given the media-saturated environments we now all live in, they receive so many conflicting messages about who and what they should be. For girls, body image and self-image is a critical issue. In 2011, Dove® released the findings of its largest global study to date on women’s relationship with beauty, The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited. The study revealed that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful and that anxiety about looks begins at an early age. In a study of over 1,200 girls between the ages of 10 to 17, a majority, 72%, said they felt tremendous pressure to be beautiful. The study also found that only 11% of girls around the world feel comfortable using the word beautiful to describe their looks, showing that there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls' confidence as they grow older.


Mentoring relationships have the power to help a young woman as she may potentially be struggling with self-acceptance. These tips may be helpful for mentors whose mentees are beginning to talk about their bodies and social interactions. While it may seem more relevant for female mentees, it may be useful to review for all mentors, as male mentees are receiving the same messages and have expectations about the opposite gender.

Notice how your mentee talks about body image and self-acceptance. What does your mentee say about her own body? Does she make comments about other girls’ and women’s figures or clothing? Much of what is presented in the media about girls and women is unrealistic and unattainable: they must be tall, thin, model-beautiful, usually white or light-colored, and will put other females down to move ahead. The levels of subversiveness and sophistication of advertising and marketing has also increased, so these messages may not be as obvious as they may have been when you were her age. Ask your mentee to share what she is reading, watching, listening to and engaging with - you can learn a lot about the current level of media exposure and begin talking about these messages.  Listen actively for subtle responses to these messages - is she paying attention to this representation of girls and women? Is she paying attention or getting support for other ways of thinking about being a female?

Emphasize the positive about health in your conversations. When you talk about body image and portrayals of women and girls, make sure that you’re emphasizing being healthy, taking care of yourself, and feeling comfortable in your own skin. It may take some time (and many conversations!), but you can provide an alternative voice to what it means to be a healthy and happy woman in our culture. Part of emphasizing the positive is decreasing the negative:  don’t speak negatively about yourself or your image when you’re with your mentee and don’t talk about foods you shouldn’t be eating because you don’t want to put on weight. Instead, remember to talk about the beauty you see in your mentee and all of the non-physical positive attributes she has. Some questions you can ask:

  • What do you like about yourself?
  • What are your biggest strengths?
  • How do you want to feel about your own unique beauty?
  • What can I do to help you feel confident?

You can also identify women in both your lives whom you admire for qualities that are beautiful both inside and out. Talk about your choices and choose some new additions based on your talks. Don’t forget to share your experiences and what you have learned about being ok with yourself. It’s ok if you’re still working on it, too; this level of honesty can deepen trust and rapport with your mentee.


Seek out positive activities to address healthy body image. Move beyond conversations and engage in activities that will help your mentee know through experience that it’s healthy to be active, eat well, and take care of herself as well as be a positive person. A great resource is the Eat Well Stay Healthy Have Fun Guide for Mentors from the Harvard Mentoring Project. You can also try some of the gender-specific ideas from the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, like a Self-Esteem Scavenger Hunt, Boost Book, Positive Playlist, or New Moves & Grooves. Together, check out the Love Your Body, Change Your World Action Kit from Girls for A Change. You can also view films or read books that attempt to deconstruct negative media messages. One suggestion is Miss Representation (2012); you can view the trailers for online or seek out or even sponsor a screening in your community. Your program may also have connections with others who provide workshops or consultation in this area; be sure to check with them for possible activity ideas.

Talk to your program coordinator if your mentee’s responses seem extreme. If your mentee’s views, values, or habits seem extreme or exceptionally unhealthy, talk with your program coordinator for more advice and resources. Too many girls and women in our culture experience eating disorders and body dysmorphia; if it seems like your mentee is headed in this direction, consulting with a professional may help and the earlier, the better. At this website is more information, especially about resources and online training.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Safe Online Surfing

Although this is designed primarily for teachers and students, mentors and mentoring organizations can and should be adapting or using this tool. Use perhaps can be led by a mentoring organization via a school or introduced to the school.  Exam participation must be through a school, but all adults can access and use the information.  Let's help protect our mentees from cyber predators.   

New Cyber Safety Website for Teachers, Students

Posted on the FBI website 10/15/12

From the website:
Windmill game
After entering the FBI-SOS website, students “travel” to their grade-specific island, which includes either seven or eight learning portals to visit. These areas address topics such as the protection of personal information, password strength, cell phone safety, social networking, and online gaming safety. The videos also include real-life stories of kids who have faced cyber bullies and online predators. Visit SOS.

It’s called the FBI-SOS (Safe Online Surfing) Internet Challenge—and it was developed with the assistance of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and with the input of teachers and schools.

FBI-SOS is available through a newly revamped website at The site features six grade-specific “islands”—for third- through eighth-grade students—highlighting various aspects of cyber security through games, videos, and other interactive features. Each island has either seven or eight areas to explore—with a specific cyber safety lesson—and its own central character and visual theme. For example, fourth grade features Ice Island, complete with falling snow and penguins.
To encourage participation and enhance learning, FBI-SOS includes both testing for students and competition among schools. Each grade level has its own exam, which can only be taken after teachers have signed up their respective classes and all activities on the island have been completed by each student. And once all the exams for a class are graded (done electronically by the FBI), schools appear on a leader board in three categories based on the number of total participants. During each rating period, top-scoring schools in each category nationwide are awarded an FBI-SOS trophy and, when possible, receive a visit from a local FBI agent. All public, private, and home schools are eligible to participate.

For teachers and schools, FBI-SOS provides virtually everything needed to teach good cyber citizenship:
■A free, ready-made curriculum that meets state and federal Internet safety mandates (see sidebar for topics covered);
■Age-appropriate content for each of the six grade levels;
■A printable teacher’s guide that spells out how teachers can sign up their classes and use the site; and
■Detailed rules and instructions for students.

Can anyone visit the website? Absolutely. Kids of all ages—and even adults—can explore the site, play the games, watch the videos, and learn all about cyber safety. However, the exam can only be taken by third- to eighth-grade students whose classes have been registered by their teachers.