Thursday, August 29, 2013

Activities, State Resource All Year

Mentors, mentoring organizations and families--foster or other--are always looking for free or inexpensvie activities.  Fall, filled with county fairs, area festivals, free museum days and other opportunities, is the time to look at Oklahoma's tourism website.  One of the best features is an interactive map of Oklahoma upon which the viewer can click and a list of categories to check. 

Sometimes festival food can be expensive so a group on a budget can take water, snacks and even meals. 
This link features the map with various choices of activities for the different regions and seasons of Oklahoma.
Narrowing to the fall, "Top Fall Events in Oklahoma" is also useful, e.g., Poteau has an annual hot air balloon festival. 

Region-specific for the northeast:

The "Central Oklahoma Frontier Country" has a list of August 2013 Events in Central Oklahoma, posted by Katie Puckett on 07/25/2013. 

Central Oklahoma’s Event Calendar August 2013

 The following is a truncated list of events occurring in Central Oklahoma Frontier Country.
Dates are subject to change.

 CENTRAL OKLAHOMA – The Oklahoma Ford Dealers host Wide-Open Wednesdays at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The special promotion offers the public free admission every Wednesday from Aug. 7 through Nov. 13. This is the perfect opportunity to visit and learn about the legacies that have shaped the way Americans live today…

Every year, Old Germany Restaurant, the City of Choctaw and the Choctaw Chamber host Choctaw Oktoberfest under 30,000 square-feet of tents and pavilion at Choctaw Creek Park. Oktoberfest, Aug. 30-Sept. 7 features the best in German food, beer, wine, dancing and more. Admission is $5 for adults and children under 12 are admitted free.

The annual Loose Caboose Antique and Craft Festival is a one of a kind event held on Main Street in downtown Purcell from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Aug. 31. Enjoy a variety of booths, live music, food vendors and shop many wonderful antique and gift stores.

Each year, Oklahoma City Community College’s Arts Festival Oklahoma is a favorite Labor Day event in Oklahoma and one of the top arts and crafts shows in the Southwest. Join OCCC Aug. 31-Sept. 2 for this fun, free event with a variety of vendors, food booths, live music and much more.

 Look through the calendar page to find free or inexpensive opportunities. Below are a few we liked.

Wide Open Wednesdays 
All Day on Wednesdays through November 13th
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City

August 30th, 2013 All Day - September 7th, 2013
Choctaw Creek Park, Choctaw

35th Annual Arts Festival Oklahoma
August 31st, 2013 All Day - September 2nd, 2013
Oklahoma City Community College

First Free Monday
September 2nd, 2013 All Day
Sam Noble Museum, Norman

Open & Free Admission Labor Day!
September 2nd, 2013 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Oklahoma WONDERtorium, Stillwater

Art Adventures
September 3rd, 2013 All Day
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Norman

Don't forget to look ahead at the fun activities during the rest of September and particularly all of October, e.g., the Wewoka Sorghum Festival, where the cane is cooked right in front of festival goers.  To this blogger, Wewoka's sorghum is the best produced in Oklahoma.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just 90 Seconds: Excerpt on Approaching

The excerpt below illustrates the second principle from Elia Moreno's presentation on nine impacting principles, which were featured in yesterday's blog.  See notes at the bottom of the post.

Approaching with Gentle Steps

It has been two weeks, and I am settled in my Big Brothers Big Sisters office. I am still struggling; daily, I find myself just going through the motions. I ask God for passion in this new endeavor. I am eager to do something for others. I await the opportunity to learn, and my desire is to grow to love what I do. It isn't long before a coworker invites me to a BBBS (Big Brothers Big Sisters) activity that is being held at a nearby school. I accept the invitation, not knowing what to expect. Activity day is here, and I find my way to the elementary school. I sign in at the office and ask for directions to the library. As I enter, I glance over the crowd of adults and children. I grab my lunch and look for a place to sit. I gently approach a table with others already seated. It is a man named John; he is the mentor to the 10-year-old-boy that sits next to him. I smile as I take my seat at their table. I sit quietly and say nothing as they are deep in conversation.

I begin studying the activity taking place. There is laughter and excitement all around. After a few minutes I notice Joe, the 10-year-old boy sitting at my table. He begins to look towards the door as if in anticipation. I follow his lead, and I, too, start looking towards the door. I begin to daydream of what will come through the door, maybe a mascot, maybe ice cream, or perhaps it’s time for recess. It doesn't take long before the guessing is over. A few moments later, I notice a small shadow in the doorway. This little guy, he is about 6 or 7 years of age.

Joe jumps to his feet, and quickly begins motioning for this little guy to come over. I watch as he makes his way to the table. His eyes gazing the floor as he walks. Gently with his head bowed, he approaches the table and as he reaches Joe, he is asked to shake Joe’s mentor’s hand. The little guy nods no without ever lifting his head. By this point, it is apparent that this little one has been damaged somehow. Joe begins to speak in Spanish, and John the mentor has no idea what he is saying. He calls the child by name, "Ben, shake this man’s hand." Ben nods again. Joe continues to try and convince Ben to shake his mentor’s hand, to no avail. Finally Joe stoops down, and with his little hands he cups Bens face. He raises it so they make eye contac,t and he speaks these powerful words. "Not all men are bad Ben, this is a good man." Joe then lifts Bens little arm to help him shake his mentor’s hand.

I sit unable to move or react. I get up and walk out of the library as my emotions take over. I get it! I get it! It hits me like a ton of bricks. My eight months of agony were worth this very moment. That day in the library, I understood the power of acting rather than reacting. It would be another year before I would fully understand all of what had just occurred. This mentor had just changed Joe's life, in such a way that a generation of people will now live in hope and opportunity. 
Joe’s mentor acted by showing value to this child, an intentional approach made all the difference. If you’ll allow me to share another memory, it will be easier for you to remember the power of approaching.

This memory comes to mind as we begin to talk about how we approach others. Whether we realize it or not, it impacts the person we are approaching. Think of an instance when you were upset at someone. Perhaps you had to approach them about whatever made you mad. How did you approach them? Did you stomp your feet or walk hurriedly? By the time you reached your point of contact the person probably already had a clue about how you felt. Is it fair that bystanders might have experienced your approach as well? Like it or not, whatever we are feeling, people around us experience it, too.

Now think of a loved one, someone you haven’t seen in a while, maybe a solider coming home after a lengthy deployment. How do you approach him? The approach would probably be much different. If it were me, it would look like this. I would be approaching at a slow jog, and my arms would be flailing in the air. There would be screeching at the top of my lungs,while I danced a jig in midair, and it wouldn’t be long before my jog would turn into a run. Hey, but that’s just me. Did this approach impact the people around me? I would say…absolutely.

So now let me ask you this. How do you approach your students [clients, mentees]? How do you approach their parents? How do you approach your local barista? After 20 years of research, I have come to the conclusion that it takes approximately 90 seconds for a transaction to occur in a retail establishment. So that tells me that we have a whole 90 seconds to impact someone.

For instance, let’s say I am approaching a cashier, and as I am approaching my phone rings. Now I have two choices, one is to answer the phone, and two is not to answer the phone. If I answer the phone, I am telling the person in front of me that he or she is not as important as the person calling me. I haven't even answered it yet so it may be a wrong number or a telemarketer. Now if I don't answer, I automatically show value to the person standing in front of me. Without even saying one word, I am saying to the person in front of me, you are valuable, you are worth my attention. 'That old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me." Not true, words are hurtful, and sometimes the lack of words is even more hurtful.

Sounds like a no brainer, but it’s not easy. We are all busy and usually in a hurry. It is going to take your being intentional with your time in order to impact others the way you want. So let’s start by practicing. A great way to practice is to go shopping. This will give you many opportunities to get it right. So you know what that means, yes, a lot of shopping will take place. I apologize in advance for all those hours in the shoe store.

Source: Just 90 Seconds, PDF, page 3 

Elia Moreno is available to host on-site training over this material. If you would like more information, please contact us at

Building Resilience in Our Youth, August 20, 2013, Seattle University

Note: Elia Moreno has a blog,, and has written a book soon to be published.

Also, Cal Farley's, for whom Moreno works as community engagement coordinator, has recently opened a Family Resource Center in Oklahoma City. Moreno lives in Amarillo, Texas.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Just 90 Seconds...

While attending the Washington State Mentors' Conference last week, I listened to many useful presentations.  As Elia Moreno, the keynote speaker and a session presenter, said, the nine principles below are what we learned growing up but somehow have lost.  The principles apply to everyone we encounter, not just those in poverty. Discuss with your mentees. Excerpts from her session PDF:


“Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can.” --John Wesley

Impacting Students in Just 90 Seconds

Because poverty has emerged as one of our most critical issues; our communities must become more proactive and systemic in responding to this devastating plague and the students living in this crisis. It is essential that we have a new insight and a deeper understanding of the importance in showing value to all we encounter.

Let’s peel back the layers and discover, the kind of worth and value that requires no words when given. Because poverty attacks an individual’s self-esteem, the person living in poverty usually becomes convinced that the deficiency is within rather than the situation they are living in. This is a myth the person is not deficient; the situation they are living in is what is deficient.

Poverty greatly affects the educational environment in academics, discipline, and absenteeism. Implementation of these Just 90 Seconds principles will allow you to better connect not only with your students but also with their families.

1. Choosing to intentionally impact others (For example, don't be listening or talking on a cell phone when you are checking out with a clerk, at a meal, etc.) 

One way or another in every human interaction, we give or take value from another.

2. Approaching with gentle steps (If you are angry or having a bad day, how many innocent people--family, coworkers, clients, service people or others will you harm with your negative attitude? Be thoughtful of others you encounter even indirectly.)

3. Smiling with purpose (No explanation needed!)

4. Greeting in a way that allows others to feel welcomed (Consider body language--open or closed, facial expression and smiles.  Acknowledge people around you with a sign or a word.)

5. Making Eye Contact (Make eye contact, not just look at the face.  Disregarding humans is easy with technology. Sometimes we behave as if others are invisible.)

6. Ignoring Distractions (Tell me what you want because I am in a hurry. Pause and deal with the person before you. 'Talking with someone while checking the clock, looking at others in the room, etc.  Focus!)

7.  The Art of Listening (Let people talk until they are finished. Don't interrupt.  Don't act impatiently. Don't touch or nod.)

8. Affirming by showing value (Elia and a group of civic leaders went to a distant town to live three days on the street as homeless people.  No one offered her a drink of water. How valuable was Elia when no one felt her worth a drink of water? Even "church" people found her unworthy of being in the house of God.  How can we assert the value of another?)

9. Closure (In mentoring, we teach how to close a mentoring match, but do we commonly wrap neatly a meeting or conversation in an appropriate, pleasant or uplifting way? Are we thoughtful of coworkers, family members, service people, etc.?) 

Elia Moreno is available to host on-site training over this material. If you would like more information, please contact us at

Building Resilience in Our Youth, August 20, 2013, Seattle University

More tomorrow...

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Mentoring Program, El Reno

We applaud the many Oklahoma local education foundations that envision and execute projects far beyond typical teacher grants.  El Reno Public Schools Foundation, however, has set a new standard.

After the 2012 Fall Forum’s mentoring sessions, Suzanne Thompson, then president of the El Reno Public School Foundation, and other foundation leaders decided El Reno needed a new mentoring program. Suzanne and Dana Gibson instigated focus groups to talk about needs and ideas and listen to presentations by various mentoring organizations including Rocky Burchfield, Fairview superintendent and his Mission Mentors staff and board members.
A group of concerned citizens composed of business, civic, school and religious leaders, chaired by Dana Gibson, then designed a mentoring program as a standing committee under the umbrella of the school foundation. 

This is the paragraph inserted into El Reno Public School bylaws--in case other local education foundations wish to pursue this plan. 

This committee will consist of at least one Foundation trustee and various community members, number may vary.  The committee will elect chairman, vice-chairman, secretary and treasurer in March, terms lasting 2 years.  The treasurer will present a budget in April for the coming calendar year and a monthly treasurer’s report to the foundation.  The committee will report yearly, in April, their annual report and goals for the coming year.  It shall be the responsibility of the committee to organize and enlist mentors to provide weekly mentoring/tutoring sessions to students (and families) of ERPS students.  This committee will work with the personnel of ERPS in tracking mentors and mentees.  Students will be suggested by school personnel and matched with mentors accordingly.

At any time in the future, the mentoring group can become its own 501 (c) 3, but the current strategy is working. Forming a separate nonprofit can take six months to a year, and El Reno students needed something successful in place by August.

This has been a huge amount of research and work; however, the kickoff of the new program is amazing, and El Reno is willing to share how this is done as a model for other foundations.
Students Striving for Success, El Reno’s new mentoring program, has begun the 2013-14 school year with 178 mentees and over 100 mentors.  The SSFS board and staff have decided not to add mentees until January because it wants to match the remaining mentees one-to-one with mentors. 

More good news is that at the Fall Forum, October 22, 2013, Dana Gibson and some of those involved, will present a session about how a local education foundation can create a successful mentoring group under its aegis. 
Major mentor recruiting tool: using the mentoring program video.

Some highlights so far:

·         Mercy Hospital produced a Students Striving for Success video as its additional investment in the community.

·         Dana Gibson and others showed the video at churches to recruit mentors.

·         Brooke Stroman, an experienced El Reno Public Schools employee, enthusiastically handles critical parts of the program.

·         Brooke takes the video to businesses and others to recruit mentors.

·         To allow Brooke the time to focus upon the program, Rana Porter, an accountant who wants to spend more time with her toddler, works part-time.  She efficiently and rapidly handles spreadsheets of mentors, mentees, expenses, etc., and also sends reminders.  In short, Rana, a fourth generation El Reno Public Schools attendee, handles the organization end brilliantly.

·         The foundation’s standing committee and mentoring board for this program are PASSIONATE about their involvement.
The foundation’s standing committee and board for this program are passionate about their involvement.

From the El Reno Public School Foundation

Students Striving for Success

Board Members
  • Dana Gibson, Chairman  
  • Richard Steanson, Vice-Chairman  
  • Michelle Ahem, Secretary 
  • Toni Grantham, Treasurer  
  • Barry Bennett 
  • Curtis Blanc  
  • Charlie Blount  
  • Pam Broyles  
  • Ronnie Fields 
  • Connie Hart-Yellowman  
  • Susan Hill 
  • Alisha Kirkland 
  • Chris Lambackis 
  • Robbie March 
  • Karen Nance
  • John Schneider  
  • Geraldo Troncosco

  El Reno Public Schools 
  • Craig McVay, Superintendent
  • Brooke Stroman, Community Outreach Director/Mentoring Support Specialist
  • Susan K. Hill
We look forward to learning more at the Fall Forum on October 22nd. 

Congratulations to the community of El Reno!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Research: Children of Incarcerated Parents

Those of you who work with the children of incarcerated parents intuitively and experientially know the results of this research, which highlights that mentoring this group of youths  can and does make a difference .



From The Chronicles of Evidence-Based Mentoring
By Jean Rhodes August 4, 2013 2

An attachment perspective on incarcerated parents and their children

J., Poehlmann, J., & Shaver, P. (2010). An attachment perspective on incarcerated parents and their children. Attachment & Human Development, 12(4), 285-288.


It is estimated that over 3 million children are affected by having an incarcerated parent (Glaze & Maruschak, 2008; Western & Wildeman, 2009). One particular way in which children are negatively impacted from parental incarceration the disruption it plays in attachment relationships between parent and child. The mere physical separation, loss of contact, and changes in both quantity and quality of interactions with the parent all may affect the security of parent-child attachment (Poehlmann, 2005). Thus, Cassidy and colleagues examine the current research on attachment and incarceration to highlight the challenges, as well as demonstrate the importance of including attachment in interventions.


These children may face a number of risk factors in addition to attachment disruption that are associated with incarceration of a parent: (Murray & Murray, 2010)
  • poverty
  • parental and/or youth substance abuse
  • parental mental health problems
  • exposure to violence
  • maltreatment
  • unstable care-giving and schooling arrangements
In an intervention for (non-violent) incarcerated women and their newborns, the program aimed to improve parental care-giving and foster secure infant-parent attachment. The rate of infant attachment security and maternal sensitivity at 12 months were comparable to the rate found in low-risk community samples (Borelli et al., 2010; Byrne, Goshin, & Joestl, 2010; Cassidy, 2010).
In a qualitative study, 15 year old children of incarcerated parents participated in a mentoring intervention program in which issues with ongoing parental contact emerged as a prevalent theme. (Shlafer & Poehlmann, 2010)

Overall the findings of this review highlight the importance of considering the contextual factors that may influence attachment and other outcomes for children of incarcerated parents (i.e. poverty, substance abuse, exposure to violence, maltreatment). This study also examined the importance of considering attachment in interventions with incarcerated parents – it specifically highlighted the use of mentoring relationships as an outlet for children of incarcerated parents  to discuss their issues surrounding contact with their incarcerated parent. Furthermore, mentors may be an effective intervention and can even act as a type of “attachment surrogate” for a child unable to have his/her needs met by the incarcerated parent. By understanding how attachment and other relationship processes are affected in the context of parental incarceration, social workers, psychologists, educators, attorneys, and other professionals will be more able to more effectively serve such families in their decisions and/or interventions.    
Ret. 8-13-13

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

YoungArts Program

Read about the YoungArts and its programs.

Go to the website for the annual application cycle and deadline.

About YoungArts

YoungArts provides emerging artists (ages 15-18 or grades 10-12) with life-changing experiences with renowned mentors, access to significant scholarships, national recognition, and other opportunities throughout their careers to help ensure that the nation’s most outstanding young artists are encouraged to pursue careers in the arts. Support is offered in ten artistic disciplines: cinematic arts, dance, design, jazz, music, photography, theater, visual arts, voice and writing...

Ret. 8-14-13

Thanks to Brenda Wheelock

Updated 4-20-15

Monday, August 19, 2013

Winners in State Mentoring Survey Drawing

Photographer: Travis Caperton, State Capitol
See below for photo caption/cutline.
The David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative has announced the winners of a contest for Oklahoma mentoring organizations that completed the state’s first Youth Mentoring Survey.

The Boren Mentoring Initiative, which is a program of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, held a drawing for a $500 Visa gift card and eight $25 gift cards for mentoring groups that submitted their surveys by the Aug. 14 deadline. The survey, which was sent to mentoring organizations statewide, will provide important data about youth mentoring in Oklahoma.

The winner of the grand prize $500 gift card is the Canaries Running Team of BETHANY. Recipients of $25 gift cards are Camp Fire Heart of Oklahoma, OKLAHOMA CITY; Congregation B’nai Emunah’s McClure Elementary Program of TULSA; Creek County Literacy Mentoring Program of SAPULPA; Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity’s A Ride into the Future Mentoring Program, OKLAHOMA CITY; Rose State TRiO Student Support Services, MIDWEST CITY; Oklahoma City Police Athletic League, OKLAHOMA CITY; National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. Epsilon Delta Kudos, LAWTON; and Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma, OKLAHOMA CITY. 

State Rep. Emily Virgin, a former recipient of the foundation’s Academic All-State Scholarship, did the drawing for the winning mentoring organizations. 

The mission of the Boren Mentoring Initiative is to promote the growth and development of quality youth mentoring programs statewide. The initiative seeks to be a resource for training, best practices, program models and mentoring data. The foundation has also established a directory of more than 100 mentoring organizations statewide and provides opportunities for networking, training and promotion among its mentoring partners.  The initiative, named for Foundation for Excellence chairman David L. Boren and his wife, Molly, grew out of Boren’s own commitment to mentoring and the proven impact that mentoring can make on a student’s success in and out of the classroom.

Oklahoma State Rep. Emily Virgin draws for a $500 grand prize as well as other prizes to be awarded to Oklahoma mentoring organizations that completed the state’s first Youth Mentoring Survey sponsored by the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative, a program of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. Virgin is joined by her executive assistant Deborah Smith. The winner of the $500 grand prize is the Canaries Running Team of Bethany. Virgin is a past recipient of the Foundation’s Academic All-State Scholarship. (Photo by Travis Caperton, State Capitol)
From the press release of Brenda Wheelock, PR director, Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence
August 16, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Call to Action for Youth

Although Rev. Goode's passionate appeal with an action plan focuses upon our black men and boys, who are unquestionably in need, mentors know it also embraces all ethnicities, male and female for multiple reasons.  We have taken the liberty of underlining excerpts.

A call to action on behalf of our nation’s youth

By Rev. W. Wilson Goode, Sr.

We are in an interesting season of social and political action.  This is our moment to push this movement to the next level and beyond. This is our season to elevate the status of black men and boys. Back home in Philadelphia the National Urban League is meeting. One of the speakers at this conference is the mother of Trayvon Martin. A month from now tens of thousands will gather in Washington DC to push for change in laws.  All of these things are important, but I think much of it lets us off the hook too easily.  A meeting here or a protest there is not going to get us where we need to be. It will make us feel good, but what we need is a continuous set of action steps to help our children achieve their full potential.

We are all potentially Trayvon Martin. We have all had our utter disrespect moment, not as tragic as Trayvon Martin, but we have all had them. But those moments have made us stronger, and the adults in our lives made the difference. I know that because I would not be standing here had some adults not believed in me, supported me, and mentored me. But too often some of us have substituted tables of tens in banquet halls for a series of action steps needed to redirect the lives of our children. Somehow some think that being in the right place with the right crowd will get us where we need to be. It will not.

From the day I left college in 1961 until now, I have seen the value of one to one relationships. I have seen ordinary young men blossom and do extraordinary things with their lives because of relationships — Indeed I am exhibit number one.  So, it is not surprising that 13 years ago after serving in public office for 24 years at the local, state, and federal levels, I chose to devote my final years in an area of mentoring that gave me extraordinary opportunities to serve. So I started the Amachi Program.

By all measures Amachi has been a successful program, but that’s not enough – more needs to be done! And we are the ones to do it.

  • We must keep in front of the nation the plight of our black men and boys. Everywhere we go, we must remind our audience that our black men and boys are at risk. I do not preach a sermon or make a speech unless I remind my audience that we must do more for our children. And, I often do it with the stories like the one related to me by a former teacher in Philadelphia. Most people don’t know what we know. They need to be told. We must be the messengers. We have to sound the alarm. We must shout it from the mountain top that our black men and boys need a community of elders who will love them, teach them, protect them and defend them. Our children must be our top priority. We are too passive about all of this. There is an urgency of now for our children especially our black boys. We must do what is necessary now or suffer the consequences for decades.

  • We need to ensure that all of the programs are evidence based. We should not do programs that we are not certain of the outcome for our black boys. We are in this game to help them, not to create jobs for ourselves. If we don’t know how to do the work and are unwilling to be taught, we should get out of the game. If we don’t know if black men and boys are being helped, we should find out. It is critical to enforce standards for our work. It is critical to find out whether the work we do is helping children. I have worked with more than 1,000 mentoring groups over the past 13 years and for the most part they do good work, but there are too many who are putting our children at further risk by the sloppy nature of their work. I have closed down programs because I will not permit anyone to place children at further risk on my watch. If we take money to help our children, especially black boys, we should help them or give the money back.
  • Our government and private sector leaders need to hear from us. They need to know our narrative. They need to know our stories. We need to tell them about children. We need to let them know we need their help. I know that some will never help us, but there are some who will if we present our case to them. Tell them that what we do makes the education system better because children improve their grades and graduate high school. We are in the education business.
  • Let’s tell them that we are in the crime prevention business. Our children we mentor commit fewer crimes. We reduce the cost of incarceration because we have redirected lives. Tell them that we save them money and if they invest money in us, we will multiply the return on their investment.

  • Let’s tell them that we are an economic development engine. Our children graduate high school, go to college and contribute to the economic development of our cities, states and the nation. Yes, we are more than mentoring programs — we are a critical part of the fabric of this nation. But, unless we tell our stories, they will never know. I am convinced that if we tell our stories, we will get great responses.

Well, what’s next? Folks, I think we are on to something. What happens next is in our hands. In the last year, I have had half a dozen contacts with the White House around mentoring. I believe that there is openness to mentoring as the critical key issue to so many problems facing the Nation. But, we have to do the heavy lifting. We have to get our act together, however, not as individually funded programs. We have to stop merely competing for funds and come together as a potent force.  We have to tell our stories. Present our narratives. We have to keep our public and private sectors informed and challenged. We do too much talking to one another and not enough talking to those who can become our partners in this journey.

Thirty years ago when I ran for Mayor of Philadelphia, I would challenge the people as I have challenged you and then I would close by asking them to join me in this crusade to save the city. I ask that you join me in the crusade to save our black men and boys.  My question then was as it is now, Will you help me? Will you help build support for our children? This is our moment. This is our time. They are not going to do it. We have to do it. Are you ready to rumble? Will you help?

Published in The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring

Jean Rhodes, July 26, 2013  Ret. 8-13-13

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Video by CASP Inc., Norman

Brenda Wheelock, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence's public relations director, shared this video posted by one of our network programs. She writes,"This was posted on Facebook by Norman’s Community Afterschool Program."

Also Tulsa's Dr. Lester Shaw, Executive Director, UpBeat 360, has youths write, produce, edit and act in videos.

'Another activity for your mentees and/or mentors?

REt. 8-12-13

When the Alien Comes to Town
Published on Aug 12, 2013
This one-act play, including script, acting and production, was a collaborative effort created by CASP kids, with the help of CASP staff. The play was written and filmed during the summer of 2013, entirely on location at the CASP facilities in Norman, OK.

The revenue grossed for this film by far exceeded the production budget. Additionally, film critics around Norman gave this film ten thumbs up.

Special effects done by Amanda Elliott and Sara Weaver
Video Editing done by Andrew and Emma Kelley, Natalia Montelongo, Amanda Elliott and Sara Weaver

See more information at

From our "Oklahoma Mentoring Programs" online directory at

The Community After School Program (CASP) of Norman provides a safe, supervised before and after school environment for school-age children who would otherwise be left unsupervised while their parents begin or complete their workday. CASP provides before and after school care to more than 700 elementary children in 16 programs in the Norman Public School system.

The Cranium Crew is a tutoring program offered to children in CASP. Tutors are paired one-on-one with an elementary student and meet at the school site twice a week for 30 minutes.
Brenda Birdsong is the Director of Child Services for CASP, Inc., which in January 2013 had 92 mentors/tutors. 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013


If mentors have mobile devices and their mentees do not, mentors can still use them to teach or explore occasionally.  Even utilizing digital technology in a library--school, college or public--has merit. 

Oklahoma City University's Intergenerational Computer Center (ICC) could be replicated through grants in many communities, and its serving the entire community is priceless. 'A follow-up on that model soon.  

Relating to the second report summary:  
To use effectively digital technology in the classroom, Cindi Hemm, former principal of Tulsa's inner-city school, Eugene Field Elementary, developed a system clear to students and teachers. "Red" days, no use; "yellow" days, limited use; and "green" days, full use.  


The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools

by Kristen Purcell, Judy Buchanan, Linda Friedrich 

July 16, 2013


A survey of teachers who instruct American middle and high school students finds that digital technologies are impacting student writing in myriad ways, and there are signicant advantages from tech-based learning. 

Some 78% of the 2,462 advanced placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers surveyed by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project say digital tools such as the internet, social media, and cell phones "encourage student creativity and personal expression." In addition:
  • 96% agree digital technologies "allow students to share their work with a wider and more varied audience"

  • 79% agree that these tools "encourage greater collaboration among students"
According to teachers, students' exposure to a broader audience for their work and more feedback from peers encourages greater student investment in what they write and in the writing process as a whole.

At the same time, these teachers give their students modest marks when it comes to writing and highlight some areas needing attention.  Asked to assess their students' performance on nine specific writing skills, teachers tended to rate their students "good" or "fair" as opposed to "excellent" or "very good." Students received the best ratings on their abiltiy to "effectively organize and structure writing assignments" and their ability to "understand and consider multiple viewpoints on a particular topic or issue." Teachers gave students the lowest ratings when it comes to "navigating issues of fair use and copyright in composition" and "reading and digesting long or complicated texts."  

View or download the full report as well as read related reports.


How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms  

by Kristen Purcell, Alan Heaps, Judy Buchanan, Linda Friedrich                              

February 28, 2013


A survey of teachers who instruct American middle and secondary school students finds that digital technologies have become central to their teaching and professionalization.  At the same time, the internet, mobile phones, and social media have brought new challenges to teachers, and they report striking differences in access to the latest digital technologies between lower and higher income students and school districts. 

Asked about the impact of the internet and digital tools in their role as middle and high school educators, these teachers say the following about the overall impact on their teaching and their classroom work: 

  • 92% of these teachers say the internet has a "major impact" on their abiltiy to access content, resources, and materials for their teaching 

  • 69% say the internet has a "major impact" on their ability to share ideas with other teachers

  • 67% say the internet has a "major impact" on their abiltiy to interact with parents, and 57% say it has had such an impact on enabling their interaction with students 
The survey finds that digital tools are widely used in classrooms and assignments, and a majority of these teachers are satisfied with the support and resources they receive from their school in this area. However, it also indicates that teachers of the lowest income students face more challenges in bringing these tools to their classrooms: 
  • Mobile technology has become central to the learning process, with 73% of AP and NWP teachers saying that they and/or their students use their cell phones in the classroom or to complete assignments

  • More than four in ten teachers report the use of e-readers (45%) and tablet computers (43%) in their classrooms or to complete assignments

  • 62% say their school does a "good job" supporting teachers' efforts to bring digital tools into the learning process, and 68% say their shcool provides formal training in this area

  • Teachers of low income students, however, are much less likely than teachers of the highest income students to use tablet computers (37% v. 56%) or e-readers (41% v. 55%) in their classrooms and assignments

  • Similarly, just over half (52%) of teachers of upper and upper-middle income students say their students use cell phones to look up information in class, compared with 35% of teachers of the lowest income students 

  • Just 15% of AP and NWP teachers whose students are from upper income households say their school is "behind the curve" in effectively using digital tools in the learning process; 39% who teach students from low income households describe their school as "behind the curve"

  • 70% of teachers of the highest income students say their school does a "good job" providing the resources needed to bring digital tools into the classroom; the same is true of 50% of teachers working in low income areas

  • Teachers of the lowest income students are more than twice as likely as teachers of the highest income students (56% v. 21%) to say that students' lack of access to digital technologies is a "major challenge" to incorporating more digital tools into their teaching

View or download the full report as well as read related reports. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fundraising Social in a Business Area
Occasionally mentoring organizations consider a new fundraiser. This event of the Toby Keith Foundation is fun, family-friendly and also business-friendly. 

Marion Anderson, the Toby Keith Foundation's resourceful development director, has secured free ice cream and a generator! The informative and fun occasion will be held in a shopping district, which will bring more merchant exposure. 'Rather like a mini-festival with children's activities as well as shopping and visiting. Let your imaginations run wild in your own version.

Even if it is not a fundraiser, imagine a slightly tweaked event with grills sizzling, potluck, outdoor games, and homemade ice cream--family reunion-style--a "neighborhood" cookout in a small town square or park.  Have a cake or pie walk.  'Anyone for horseshoes, marbles, bocce? 

Umm, that brings up another post idea, the search for youth and older activities not involving electronics...

From Facebook:


The Toby Keith Foundation is excited to announce our newest project...THE OK KIDS KORRAL- a home-like place for pediatric cancer patients and their families to stay while they are undergoing treatments for cancer.
The Toby Keith Foundation exists to encourage the health and happiness of pediatric cancer patients and to support OK Kids Korral, a home for children undergoing treatment for cancer.
The Toby Keith Foundation          
Would you like to be part of something super cool this Labor Day? We're introducing our newest event Kones for the Korral..... Please contact Juliet Bright at 217-8629 for sponsorship information and help us promote childhood cancer awareness as well as benefit OK Kids Korral! You can find more detailed information on our website:!/photo.php?fbid=662180740477704&set=a.175115355850914.43776.134177519944698&type=1&theater

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fundraising - High Tech & Charming

Mentoring organizations are synonymous with borrowing or adapting. 

The Charity Angels in Action

L.A. glamour goddesses are hired to go to charity events and entice attendees to give more.
Photograph by Angie Smith for Bloomberg Businessweek

Ride along with a gaggle of sexy 'independent women' who charm men into giving more at fundraisers.  (Definitely watch!)

Photograph by Angie Smith for Bloomberg Businessweek

We can learn much from reading through the Charity Angels' website. 
Ret. 8-2-13

Monday, August 5, 2013

Resources for Mentors & Dads, a fantastic resource, has one mentoring group called Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students), but it offers so much more, e.g., "Hot Topics," "Research," "Your Situation," "Your Kids," "Fathering Court,"etc.  To be a Watch DOG, you only must be male.  'More on this later, however, see:
1) Watch the fantastic story about WATCH D.O.G.S. from Matt Lauer and the TODAY Show, 2/11/13, featuring the great WatchDOGS of Martinsburg, WV. And thanks to all the dads and everyone involved in the program who are helping to make it a success!

2) If you don't read or watch anything else, watch this video about a dad talking to a young man who comes to take his daughter to hang out. What is the young man doing wrong, and what is the father doing right?

Meeting Your Daughter's Date (video)

The "Hot Topics" section of the website could be used by mentors to discuss with their mentees, or it can be a lesson for dads in how to handle situations or discuss issues.

More sections of "Hot Topics" include: (Even discuss with girls!)

Daughters (20 items)
Sons (13)
Discipline (15)
Work/Family (21)
Your Dad (17)
Your Marriage (19)
Education (21)
Faithful Fathering (5)
Sex (7)
Money Matters (7)
Holidays/Seasonal (32)

Excerpt from a 2007 Edmond Outlook article about WATCH D.O.G.S.:

"In today's society, unfortunately, not every child has a positive male role model in their lives. Anytime that we can get more one-on-one with children, it's nothing but good," said Jernigan.

"The volunteer might read with the children. They might help them with flashcards or just spend time with the kids in a positive light. We have a set schedule where the volunteers are in different classrooms for about thirty minutes of the day and then on thirty-minute rotations. They also walk the perimeter of the building, and spend time at the cafeteria during lunch to help monitor and supervise the children," said [Cara]Jernigan [assistant principal at Will Rogers Elementary School, Edmond].

Excerpt from another 2007 Edmond Outlook article:

"[Dr. Joe] Pierce [principal of West Field Elementary] implemented many programs at Orvis Risner Elementary, some of which were incorporated into the plans for West Field-Watch D.O.G.S or Dads of Great Students, who are positive role models with an extra set of eyes and ears, Reading Renaissance, which stresses the importance of reading independently, and the Fine Arts Institute, which brings art instruction to fourth graders."

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Online Degree--New!

A game changer, a degree, not just classes, from a major university...

This is worth sharing with young people as well as adults.  In many jobs, a master's degree is essential.  Imagine the near future if higher-level degrees such as this can be completed online at a significant saving.  Listen to the short segment below.

Georgia Tech to offer online master's degree at bargain price
Georgia Tech announced Tuesday that it will offer an online master's degree in computer science for less than $7,000.  Robert Frank, senior vice president and publisher of the Princeton Review joins "CBS This Morning: Saturday."

Ret. 7-27-13