Thursday, June 6, 2013

Metro Tech - Model Foundation & Mentoring Program

Metro Tech Foundation
Part of the Boren Mentoring Initiative’s purpose is to identify best practices and models for adaptation elsewhere.  Metro Tech Foundation has many valuable elements and a highly energetic board and staff.  Metro Tech is even launching a one-to-one mentoring program.

The goal for help is to keep high school and adult students in school working on certifications and postsecondary work.  More of a hands-up rather than a hands-out program, the array of case-by-case services funded by the foundation ranges from bus money, tire or repair money, utility bill payment, clothes closet replete with prom attire, groceries as needed and scholarships, which can include money or beginning work tools.  A student-prepared PowerPoint presentation illustrated the benefits eloquently. 

Of special note are two student groups appropriately named Men of Distinction and Women of Worth.  These accomplished students are groomed for job interviews and other social skills and bought an interview suit if needed.  Students meet weekly, and their advisors are always seeking opportunities for the students to interact or network or learn in a business setting.  
2013 scholars photographed with two of the scholarship benefactors received $17,000. 

Scholarship Recipients

Dr. Donna Neal Thomas Scholarship -
Angelica Martinez

Dr. Mark Vincent Scholarship -
Nykesha Bagby

Ron N. Huff Scholarship -
Troy D. Bice, Jr.
Juan Lopez
Miguel Romero

The Grainger Foundation Scholarship -
Zachary Cooksey
Timothy Dowell
Joshua G. Juline
Jonathan Scott Kummell
Darrell Moncrief
Phuc L. Nguyen
Also special is that Metro Tech staff member JoAnn Johnson strives to solve students’ issues within twenty-four hours! 

The Sowing Seeds of Success Banquet had over 37 sponsors.  Kimray was the largest sponsor. Tom Hill, emeritus Metro Tech trustee, founder of Character First and chairman of Kimray, explained that the technology center had trained in-house Kimray employees in the company’s beginning.   
Fellow attendees at one of McAfee & Taft's tables include Vicki Van Stavern, commercial interior designer; her husband Don Narcomey, a professional artist; attorneys Jennifer Callahan and Sean Hunt with stanchion bearing the McAfee & Taft sign; Rodney Huntsinger and Joshua Smith, also McAfee & Taft attorneys; and Khanita Jefferson, Metro Tech mentor coordinator. 

Richard Cudjo, who is 2nd VP of Morgan-Stanley in Oklahoma City, told a story about retiring Metro Tech superintendent Dr. James Branson.  When Cudjo had to throw papers to stay in school, Branson said,
If you can get to our house, you can borrow our pickup.
 Branson never offered to pick up Cudjo, nor did he problem-solve for him.

Metro Tech's horticulture students designed and made the uniquely appealing centerpieces.  In addition to a complete luncheon meal, guests either consumed on the spot or tucked into their purses or pockets iced shortbread "thank you" cookies, another thoughtful detail. 

Thanks to an invitation from Cindy Friedemann, the director of the foundation staff along with many other roles she assumes at Metro Tech, and a seat at a table sponsored by McAfee & Taft, I was fortunate to learn a little about the wide range of services the Metro Tech Foundation provides for its high school and adult students. 
Although the foundation is over 25 years old, Trustee Emeritus James Branscum and his truly dedicated board of trustees have resurrected and restructured the nonprofit in the most meaningful way to serve its students.  Ruben Aragon, president, Metro Tech Foundation; president and CEO of the Latino Community Development Agency; and chairman of the board, Sierra Blanca Petroleum Energy, lends his contagious enthusiasm, powerful passion and creative persuasion to the same qualities in Richard Cudjo, who is also chair, Foundation Resource Development Committee.  Saying "no" to this group is probably impossible.

See Metro Tech Foundation:
'Riotous applause to all!

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