Tuesday, January 21, 2014

OK Mentor Day in Brief

On a sunny, moderately cool day, the second annual Oklahoma Mentor Day on January 15, 2014, began with continental breakfast/networking and registration in the Fourth Floor Rotunda of the State Capitol. Fifty-two outstanding youth mentors from around the state were the honorees.

Tables with blue coverings radiated like spokes on a wheel around the Rotunda's oculus. With two six-foot tables making a spoke, meeting other mentors and guests was easy. Volunteers Marilynn Housley, Mary Ford and Joyce Owens orchestrated gracefully and hospitably the continental breakfast and later sack lunches from Panera.

For the ceremony, mentors and mentees sat on the floor of the House of Representatives while guests sat in the gallery above. Mentors received a certificate and chocolate medallion and their mentees, if present, received a little blue bag of chocolate coins. Former president of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, Patti Mellow, read the tributes as current president, Les Risser, shook hands. OKAN's Cedric Currin-Moore and Joe Swanson, who manned the registration desk earlier along with Peju Faboro, assisted with certificates and chocolates, stamped with the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence logo. Travis Caperton, one of the Capitol photographers, took photos of each honoree.

Four photographers, Bill Williams, David Wheelock, Dayna Rowe, and Brenda Wheelock, took the group photos, i.e., of the mentor and his or her entourage, in four lines, two in the Senate Chamber and two in the House Chamber.

Activities in the Rotunda included jazz music by Chris Hicks, sax, with Mitch Bell, guitar; eight tables of the Oklahoma City Zoo's Tactile Taxonomy educational artifacts along with zoo educators guiding; Chris Simon, the STEM coordinator for Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma coaching Teamwork Towers, an activity to build the tallest pipe cleaner tower while overcoming obstacles; and Bill Williams, teaching juggling with bean bags. Attendees could find plenty to do in addition to networking. Louisa McCune-Elmore and Paulette Black from the Kirkpatrick Foundation, one of the event sponsors, dropped by visit and see.

Press releases and social media will complete honoring those who give of their time to help Oklahoma youths.

Mentoring groups included corporate, community, school, faith-based and collegiate, and mentoring types encompassed peer, team, one-on-one and group.

Let's applaud all these Oklahomans who champion a hand up, not a hand out!

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