Monday, December 23, 2013

Magical Mentoring Tour I

The Boren Mentoring Initiative, a program of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, conducted its first Magical Mentoring Tour on December 13, 2014, at Cameron University in Lawton.

The purpose of the tour to each quarter of the state is to provide an overview of mentoring options.

The agenda of the first tour included presentations about the Boren Mentoring Initiative and its Advisory Committee, school-based mentoring, after-school mentoring, and the four school-based Oklahoma mentoring models along with appropriate videos interspersed between presenters. Box lunches were served, and drawing prizes will be sent to lucky attendees.

Follow-up and consulting in various forms will occur after the event. Beginning a mentoring program is a community strategy and partnership. Attendees also received a post-event critique through Survey Monkey in order to improve future presentations and provide additional information.

From Lawton, three Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence trustees as well as one trustee's husband helped us in creating and launching the event. 'Special thanks to Albert Johnson, Beth Johnson, and Linda and Larry Neal.

Indispensable MM Tour women: Mendy Stone, Trina Kettrles (Cameron) and Christine Sorrels

Keli Collins, counselor, Eisenhower Middle School; Kristy Hardy, assistant principal, Eisenhower MS; Lynn Bellamy, assistant superintendent, Anadarko PS; Beth Johnson, president, Lawton PS Foundation and OFE trustee; Randy Harris, superintendent, Fletcher PS; Lori Hayes, counselor, Navajo PS, Altus; Angela and Jeffrey Bolds, founders of "Men & Me" mentoring program, Lawton; Lennie Orwell, founder of Stand for Something or Fall for Anything and gang expert, Lawton; and Rick Garrison, superintendent, Cheyenne PS, and also co-creator/sponsor of the district's "Life 101" program for seniors.  

 Other attendees of the Magical Mentoring Tour in Lawton are (seated) Jerri Manning, principal, Lawton HS; Jennifer McGrail, director of alumni relations, Cameron University; Martina Callahan, admission counselor, Job Corps, Lawton; Kimberly Perdue, youth career & education coach, ResCare Workforce Services, Chickasha; and Lara Jernigan, youth career coach, ResCare Workforce Services, Chickasha.  Standing are Christine Sorrels, director, Helping Hands Volunteers & Millers Mentor Program, Yukon PS; Jerrold Jones, assistant principal, Lawton HS; Kim Bryant, executive director, Southwestern Youth Services, Altus; Melanie Wilkins, Bonnie Talley and Nancy Bowling, volunteers, The Well Outreach, Duncan; and Mendy Stone, executive director, Volunteers for Youth, Rogers County. Taking the photo was Bev Woodrome, director, the Boren Mentoring Initiative, OFE.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Watch D.O.G.S., Part II

Norman's Watch D.O.G.S. keeps dads involved at school

Children and fathers benefit from a national program called Watch D.O.G.S., which has been adopted by five Norman schools. The program founder urged expansion of the program in a visit to Norman this week.

BY SARAH LOBBAN Modified: October 10, 2013 at 9:07 pm • Published: October 11, 2013 
With just a month of volunteering under his belt, Jed Bowers already sees the benefits of getting involved at his son Jaden's school.

At Truman Primary, where Jaden attends prekindergarten, Bowers helps with traffic control, a specific problem at that school.

When children are being picked up or dropped off, the streets often become congested, with people paying no heed to one-way signs, threatening students' safety, he said.

As a member of Truman's Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program, Bowers and other fathers now direct traffic before and after school, escort students to their classrooms and generally serve as mentors to the children by getting to know them better.

Through his volunteer work, Bowers said he helps ensure the safety of students and is engaging more actively in his son's life.

Across the nation, schools are taking steps to ensure their students have a safe learning environment through Watch D.O.G.S., a program founded after a 1998 middle-school shooting in Jonesboro, Ark. Watch D.O.G.S. utilizes an often overlooked resource: fathers.

Five of Norman's elementary schools offer the program, and on Tuesday, founder Eric Snow was in Norman to urge expansion to other schools.

“The education of our children has to be the No. 1 priority in this country,” said Snow in an address to Norman parents, principals and educators at the Nancy O'Brien Performing Arts Center.

“We watched schools, and we listened to schools, and we found that these role models have a very positive impact.”

Whether it is reading aloud, monitoring the playground or simply being a presence in the hallways, the fathers, as well as uncles, grandfathers and other male family members, become more engaged in children's lives. They work closely with educators in the classroom, while acting as mentors for their own children and every student. 
Ret. 12-18-13

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Watch D.O.G.S., Part I

Almost everything about Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) at, an excellent resource!

In Oklahoma City...

Who Let the Watch D.O.G.S. Out?

By Kristen Hoyt

Oklahoma City Public Schools have tapped into the Father Involvement Initiative of the National Center for Fathering called “Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students). This initiative organizes fathers and father figures to promote positive male role models for students and to enhance school security. Watch D.O.G.S. began in Springdale, Arkansas in 1998—and has quickly grown to 2,276 active programs in 41 states and Washington, D.C.

Across our state, schools with Watch D.O.G.S. programs have an average of 85 days throughout the year where a Watch D.O.G. dad volunteers in the school. In Oklahoma, there are currently 53 schools participating in the program, including Cleveland Elementary in Oklahoma City, where we spoke to a few of the Watch D.O.G. dads.

Thomas Cherry

Thomas Cherry, a self-employed dad of a kindergarten student, regularly volunteers once per week during the morning drop off. He opens car doors, ensures the safety of children walking to and from school and greets parents.

Mr. Cherry has helped with birthday parties, reading to and with students, providing transportation for field trips and with mailings. “Usually the moms are called upon to do many of the volunteer jobs in the school,” said Mr. Cherry. “Being self-employed, I am able to set aside some time each week to help out. It benefits me as a dad and it seems to benefit the children, too.”

Paxton Gray

Paxton Gray works the drop-off line for the morning school rush as well as the school pick-up line in the afternoons. He also assists at recess, which both helps teachers with monitoring and wards off potential bullying issues.

Mr. Gray recently helped students train for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Kid’s Marathon. He walked and timed the kids on Friday afternoons, staying with them until their parents picked them up. His commitment to these kids encouraged them to participate in community events and to commit to being healthy.

Even with all that he does, Mr. Gray was modest in saying, “There are several dads and father figures who help at Cleveland. I do what I can, but there are many others, too.”

Cleveland’s Watch D.O.G.S. dads also serve as testing proctors for standardized tests and organized a flag football game to raise funds for the school. These dads are a welcome and helpful addition to the volunteers at Cleveland and several other schools in the Oklahoma City Public School District.

Positive Impacts

According to Principal Marsha Stafford, about 50 dads actively participate in Watch D.O.G.S. at Cleveland Elementary. “We have a list of dads that we can call on any time we need help,” she explains. “They help in the cafeteria, on the playground, with tutoring, with test monitoring and committees. They have even shoveled snow in the parking lot!” Stafford notes that the Watch D.O.G.S. have been particularly helpful with the school's efforts to integrate Spanish into their curriculum. “We have some dads who speak fluent Spanish and are helping us teach the curriculum and tutor students after school,” Stafford says.

But beyond the extra hands and help with special projects, Stafford sees a larger value in having dads in the school setting. “It's important for these children to see a positive male role model, especially for those who might not have a male figure in their lives,” Stafford explains. “They are forming relationships with the children and making sure the children feel very safe at school. They help make the atmosphere at Cleveland friendly, warm and accepting by modeling courtesy and respect. They help set the tone for our school.”
According to research, increased involvement by fathers has shown to result in:

·         higher grades and higher confidence levels in the student body as a whole,

·         children who enjoy school and view education as important and worthy,

·         a decrease in school-related anxiety in children, and

·         community members working hard to benefit their neighbors.

If you or your principal would like to start a Watch D.O.G.S. program at your school, access the National Center for Fathering website at

I’m not sure who let the Watch D.O.G.S. out, but I am certainly glad they did!

Kristen Hoyt is Assistant Professor and Director of Field Experience in the School of Teacher Education at MACU (Mid-America Christian University in OKC).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Anti-Bullying Pledge, Norman, OK

Yesterday we mentioned Norman's AboveBullying campaign and event, at which Wes Moore spoke. Below is Norman's pledge. Certainly, the scope of the definition is educational for many (Bystanders are guilty, too!), and implementing this concept into organizations, communities and/or schools is necessary.

Photos: Norman AboveBullying FB page

Norman: AboveBullying Pledge

I, ___________, agree to join together to stamp out bullying in my comunity. I believe that everybody should enjoy our community equally, feel safe and secure regardless of color, race, creed, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.

Bullying may occur in multiple forms, including verbal or written expressions, gestures, physical acts, electronic expressions or social media. It is behavior toward another person that causes physical or emotional harm, creates fear or a hostile environment and infringes on the rights of others. Bullying can be behaving in a way that physically harms or is physically agggressive towards another. Bullying can be unwanted teasing, threatening or intimidating comments, stalking or cyberstalking. It could be publicly humiliating another person, spreading rumors, falsehoods or ditial images and socially excluding another. Bullying causes pain and stress to people and is never justified or excusable as "just teasing" or any other rationalization. A person should never be the target of bullying.

By signing this pledge, I agree to:

1. Respect others' differences and treat them with respect.

2. Not become involved in bullying incidents or demonstrate bullying value.

3. Be aware of support stystems to help individuals who have been targeted.

4. Report honestly and immediately all incidents of bullying behavior to an authority figure.

5. Support people who have been or are subjected to bullying behavior.

6. Network with others in the community to help them prevent and intervene with bullying effectively.

7. Encourage people to discuss bullying issues at school, in the workplace, or in their neighborhoods.

8. Be a positive role model by acting respectfully.

9. I acknowledge that if I witness someone being bullied and don't report or stop the bullying, I am just as guilty.


A PSA by OU Women's Basketball Coach Sherri Coale, made for AboveBullying

Ret. 12-5-13

Two Youths, Different Outcomes

Brenda Wheelock, the PR director of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, shared this story after she heard about Moore's speaking at "Norman AboveBullying & A Community Together" event in Norman, Oklahoma. Moore clearly represents the results of positive role models and mentoring. Mentors could share this story with their mentees.

To read more about the Norman AboveBullying event:

From Oprah, April 27, 2010
Wes Moore

Same Name, Different Fate

"The similarities are striking. Two boys from Maryland were raised by single mothers in rough neighborhoods. Surrounded by drug dealers, gun violence and gang activity, each man struggled to make a name for himself. The name? Wes Moore.

These men may share a name, but they had very different destinies. One Wes Moore is a Rhodes Scholar, a White House fellow and a Wall Street hotshot. The other Wes Moore was convicted of killing a police sergeant and will spend the rest of his days in a 6-by-8-foot prison cell."

Read more:

Monday, December 2, 2013

"Fifty Ways to Leave Your Mentor (or Mentee)"

Michael J. Karcher, Ph.D.
by Michael J. Karcher, Ed.D., Ph.D., University of Texas at San Antonio

Banff Center for the Arts, Alberta, Canada

From a presentation at the National Mentoring Symposium,  2013

Getting a feeling for losing a friend

“I guess I just miss my friend” Shawshank Redemption. “Sometimes it makes me sad, Andy being gone…and when they fly away…the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they are gone. I guess I just miss my friend.”


Quotes below are from “Termination and closure in mentoring relationships,” by Renee Spencer and Antoinette Basualdo-Delmonico. In D.L. DuBois, & M.J. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of Youth Mentoring. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. www/ 20% discount code N121019

Most matches end prematurely: “Many agencies do in fact hope that the relationships established through their programs will grow into ties that are more natural and sustained over time without the support of the agency. Unfortunately, research suggests otherwise, with fewer than half of relationships established through formal mentoring programs lasting to their initial time commitment.” (p. 469)

Achieving, Completing, Succeeding, and Celebrating! “Keller calls this phase in youth mentoring “decline and dissolution” and draws a distinction between these two types of endings. Decline is the more passive drifting apart over time that accompanies reductions in the importance and level of closeness in the relationship, whereas dissolution is a more intentional or active termination of the relationship that may be marked by a clear event.” (Spencer & Basualdo-Delmonico, p. 470)

“How a relations ends is key to how mentors and especially youth think about and value their experiences together” (Taylor & Bressler, 2002, p. 70, in Spencer & Basualdo-Delmonico, p. 470).

No double-dash: “Dashed expectations may be of special significance to the many youth served by mentoring programs who have experienced significant disruptions in their primary caregiving relationships, where due to parental separation, incarceration, or transfer to foster care. (p. 470)

Maintaining gains: “When handled well, it is believed that the termination process can solidify gains made, resolve issues that have arisen in the …relationship itself, and prepare the [youth] for maintaining healthy functioning without the support of [mentor]…Poor endings, in contrast, hold the potential to undo some of these gains when the process of ending the relationship stirs up and does not adequately address issues and conflicts previously raised in…unresolved issues associated with loss and separation the [youth] may have carried into [the mentoring relationship].” (p. 470)

Questions unanswered, doubts arises, sadness lingers Lion King & Rascal Flats:

“What hurts the most, what being so close, and having so much to say, and seeing you walk away, and never knowing what could have been. And not seeing that loving you is what I was trying to do.”

Preparing for Success and Completion

In the CAMP program we begin with the end in mind (and practice saying goodbye using the 3-2-1 activities to prepare matches for closure. (Karcher, 2012,

Each Meeting

3-2-1 Touching Base Activity (start of CAMP meeting)

   3.   Each person shares three things that happened in the past week (or month) that were good.

   2.   Each person shares two things that happened in the week (or month) that were bad things.
   1.   Each person shares one thing he/she plans to do to make more good things happen in his life or hopes for.

3-2-1 Activity Reflection (at the end of CAMP meeting)

   3.   Each shares three things that went well today.

   2.   Each shares two things that did not go well.

   1.   Each shares one that he or she hopes will be different next time (brainstorm solutions).

Done Quarterly

 3-2-1 Relationship Reflections

   3.   Each person comes up with three things they really like about the other person, three special times they had together so far this year; or three things they really enjoyed doing together.

  2.    Each person shares two things about the other person (or two times together) that made it hard to stay connected in their friendship.
  1.   Each identifies one thing she/he will do differently in this relationship for the rest of the year.

 End of Year

The two closure rituals (“Termination ritual” or “Thrown under the bus activity”)

  1. Explain the reason for the ending
  2. Discuss what worked and what didn’t
  3. Highlight what each found special about the other
  4. Share how each other feels—both sadness and thankfulness for their year together
  5. Hopes for each other about how each will take lessons learned to their next relationship

(Cite: Karcher, M.J. (2012). The Cross-age Mentoring Program (CAMP) for Children with Adolescent Mentors (four book set). San Antonia, TX: Developmental Press. Some activities available at and described in program materials at

Karcher is an expert in peer mentoring.  A following blog post will feature some PowerPoint slides about more of his research. 
To read more about Karcher’s research: