Mentors honored at Capitol
The Boren Mentoring Initiative honored 52 mentors in Oklahoma City with a reception, lunch and other activities.
By Matt Patterson Modified: January 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm • Published: January 15, 2014
Domonique Anderson goes to Martin Luther King Elementary School every Thursday, and in many ways it's the highlight of her week.
Anderson was one of 52 mentors from across the state honored Wednesday at the State Capitol by The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and its David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative.
Alex Harvey, 11, and his mentor Melynda Stone look at a piece of baleen from a whale at The State Capitol in Oklahoma City, Wednesday January 15, 2014. GOOCH - STEVE GOOCH
The Boren Mentoring Initiative works to promote mentoring and provide networking for mentoring organizations.
Anderson, who works for Access Midstream in Oklahoma City, spends time with her mentee, 7-year-old Keyaira Jones, at her school. Anderson understands why that's important based on her own life.
"My grandmother raised me so it was like a community raising us with church and other local organizations assisting her, " Anderson said. "I'm serving in the Air National Guard and will complete my 10 years in May. The military is really big on volunteering so it was important for me to step out and pay it forward. And she's awesome. I truly love that little girl."
Chris Greenwell has been a mentor for a year. His mentee, Timmy, 11, is in foster care. Chris and Timmy go to Thunder games or work on homework. It's the time spent together that counts most.
I feel like I'm making a difference in someone's life," Greenwell said. "He's been through eight different homes. He's had an abusive past. He remembers a lot of it when we're together. It's important that somebody in his life is consistent and does stuff with him."
Some of the children in the mentoring programs are in foster care, and others are in single parent homes or being raised by an extended family member. Others have both parents in the home.
"Any youth, whether they have two parents or not could use a friend or an encourager in their life that's not their parent," Boren Mentoring Initiative Director Beverly Woodrome said.
The relationships can extend beyond the one-year commitment. Anderson already has plans to mentor Keyaira again next year.
"Some of the stories, the relationships that the mentors build with their mentees are incredible," Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence President Les Risser said. "This is not the type of thing where you meet once and check it off, these are yearlong commitments and a lot of times lifelong commitments."
[Caption for absent photo, accessed only by clicking the link below.]
Oklahoma City Zoo docent H.G. Wells explains whale barnacles to Eric Franco, 10, at The State Capitol in Oklahoma City, Wednesday January 15, 2014. Photo by Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman.