Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer STEAM Academy Model and Fundraiser

Moon Summer STEAM Academy students,
Rosser Conservation Education Center, 
Congratulations to Sheryl Lovelady, executive director of the Oklahoma Afterschool Network, and her staff for identifying and filling a need with a summer STEAM academy in northeast Oklahoma City. 

Imagine doing something similar with mentoring staff, volunteers, peer mentors, and parents in your area--as a meaningful fundraiser or charity event.

Summer academy combines creativity with 

With the zoo's reusable plastic water bottles

By Tim Willert 
Modified: June 18, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. Published June 17, 2014

A neighborhood improvement project on Oklahoma City's east side has spawned a summer learning program designed to engage children through fun, hands-on experiences. And Legos. Lots of Legos.

About 70 kids from F.D. Moon Elementary School, 1901 NE 13, are participating in a Summer STEAM Academy at Douglass Mid-High School that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. 

First-grader Brandon Edwards and kindergartener Myles Moore stood side-by-side Tuesday, making fishing poles out of Legos.

"I already (built) the fish, now I'm building the fishing pole," Myles, 5, exclaimed.

Brandon got stuck and turned to Janessa Richard of Building Minds, which uses the colorful, interlocking plastic blocks to teach science and engineering concepts to students.

"They're learning how to problem solve, " Richard said. "they mess it up and then they learn how to fix it."

Students also receive two hours of daily reading instruction.

"A lot of them are really interested in science and math," said Freddy Moncada, a fifth-grade teacher at Moon. "You can see that they really want to be here."

The program is the result of a collaboration between the city of Oklahoma City planning department and The Oklahomam Afterschool Network, which designed the program based on the needs of the Culbertson neighborhood.

Among the needs outlined in community surveys: Improving public safety by repairing sidewalks and strengthening the community by improving after-school offerings for students that include STEM--science, technology, engineering and math--subjects and reading intervention.

Photos by Cedric Currin-Moore, OKA
“We wanted something that included art,” said Sheryl Lovelady, executive director of the after-school network. “We wanted the kids to have fun and wanted them to be safe.”     

In another classroom Tuesday, fourth-grader Jeremiah Bennett and several other budding thespians worked on their improvisation skills with a couple of instructors from Oklahoma Children's Theatre.      

“It’s fun and it gives you a chance to free yourself from class,” said Jeremiah, 9.

An after-school program for Moon students is planned for the 2014-2015 school year.

If successful, the program, which will cost Oklahoma City Public Schools $70,000, could be expanded to include Thelma Parks Elementary, officials said.  Ret. 6-27-14




Friday, June 27, 2014

Successful Fundraising Ideas
Stumbling upon this thought-provoking fundraising map was serendipitous. Think!

Back to the list--

From our foundation archives, we list some fundraisers executed by local education foundations around the state in 1997-98 and 2001. Of course, we added comments.

Tying certain types of fundraisers to community festivals, holidays or other events should increase audience. 

For example, when the Boren Mentoring Initiative recently took its Magical Mentoring Tour to Guymon, board and staff members as well as volunteers of Main Street Guymon and its Main Street Guymon Transformers mentoring program provided delicious, plentiful "from scratch" salads and homemade rolls for the event lunch. They volunteered their time, resources, and skills for an organization fundraiser, but the attendees "made out like bandits" because of the extraordinary quality of the food and the hospitality. A huge win-win!

ADA - Afghans

ALTUS - Vision Seekers Prints and Belt Buckles

BLACKWELL ‑ Alumni Reunion Luncheon - $1,000 Bell Ringers

BRISTOW - Hall of Fame Dinner

BROKEN ARROW ‑ Selling Books of Students' Quotes - Murder Mystery Dinner

CASHION - Christmas Cards

CATOOSA ‑ Run/Walk; Mall Receipts from Fountain

CHICKASHA - McDonald's Hot Cake Dinner

CLAREMORE ‑ Rotary Club Chili Supper - Change/Double Your Dollalrs Campaign
CRESCENT ‑ "Follies of 1998"

DEER CREEK - Annual Phone Campaign   (Supply scripts!)

DICKSON ‑ Tailgate Party

EDMOND - Honored Teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week 

EL RENO ‑ Boots and Jeans Gala Dinner & Auction

GROVE - Five couples paid $600 each for dinner served by superintendent and principals at Stone Point Supper Club

HENNESSEY - 100-Year Class Reunion (or any year reunion)

KIEFER ‑ Junktique & Basket Auction

HUGO - 8 Km Run and 2 Km Fun Walk/Run  (Some runs allow dogs on leases for the family walk/run.)

JENKS - Annual Jamboree and Auction

KINGFISHER ‑ Talent Show - Trivia Challenge

LAVERNE ‑ Academic Tournament

MUSKOGEE - Musical Dinner Theater 

NORMAN - Annual Mail Campaign

NOWATA ‑ Historic Mansion & Auction

OKARCHE -450 tickets sold to their banquet and auction 

OKEENE - Talent Show  

OKEMAH - Awards Banquet

OKLAHOMA CITY - Mrs. Baird's Bread donated $ .05 per loaf for a six-week period  

OKMULGEE - Stock Market Challenge

OOLOGAH ‑ Concession Stands at Local Rodeo

OWASSO ‑ Holiday Home Tour   ('Garden and Pond Tour, anyone?)

PAULS VALLEY - Basket Action

PERKINS‑TRYON ‑ "An Evening with Will Rogers"

PIEDMONT ‑ Founder's Day Celebration; Indian Taco Dinner

PRYOR ‑ Restaurant Opening - Donor who will match up to $100K

SAPULPA - Golf Tournament (In Oklahoma City, almost every large nonprofit has a golf tournament.)

SAYRE ‑ Masonic Lodge

SEQUOYAH ‑ Wild Thing Feast

STROUD ‑ Christmas Ornaments; Cookbook of Recipes from Teachers - Walk of Fame Brick Program 

UNION - $5 per new account at local bank (Rogers County Bank)

VICI ‑ Oklahoma Opry Concert 

VINITA - Spelling Bee

WAKITA - Planned giving dinner

YUKON - OKC Philharmonic

Also, ask businesses with matching dollars or funding programs/foundations

Service clubs


Real estate agents

Land developers

Sports events, especially golf tournaments

Regarding talent shows, we recently attended the Senior Follies in Oklahoma City. Tickets were $22.50 each except for a small discount for blocks of 10. The performance was in a theater at Oklahoma City University. All of the performers were over 60, including a spry choreographer and tap dancing performer, age 78. Think creatively!

Incidentally, Kiwanis Clubs all over Oklahoma have pancake breakfasts and/or bean dinners often with silent and live auctions. Tip: The two Edmond Kiwanis Clubs make more profit from selling advertising on the paper placemats than on the pancakes. Think about it! 

Sausage Sizzler/Hot Dog Fundraiser Map, Rotary
Bubbles, image maps, flow charts, and all other kinds of images help us perfect fundraising projects from what is required to who does what. 

Share your fundraising ideas.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Parent Involvement I

Schools need parental involvement from pre-kindergarten through postsecondary. These session notes begin a series of ways to involve parents as well as students in education and eventually the college and/or career preparation process. 

Putnam City North High School, which has about 2,000 students, has one person, Dee Dee Stafford, dedicated to scholarships. 

  •      Open House (College Night/College Day)
  •      Financial Aid Night
  •      College Ap Day
  •      Calling tree, marquee, Twitter and other social media

The school hosts open house in the evening with about 10 colleges coming back in the next day to talk to the students for about an hour.  Announcements are made at open house.  Parents are welcome.  On College Ap Day, everyone fills out an application on computers. 

One audience member mentioned using Remind 101, a free service used for notification with parents in multiple ways, to remind youths and parents about meetings, scholarships, etc.  Someone later commented that Remind 101 can sometimes be irritating. [Ruthie Rayner, principal, Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village, Oklahoma City, uses Remind 101 for her parents and mentors.]  

“A safe way for teachers to text messages students and stay in touch with parents.”

Brenda Stinnett at Putnam City High School, which has about 1,800 students, suggests getting students excited so they go home and tell their parents. 

Putnam City's Senior Retreat Site
For the Senior Retreat, each year about 400 seniors divide, one-half of the class on Tuesday goes to Our Lady of Guadalupe Summer Camp facility for a retreat with three sessions.  The other half go to University of Central Oklahoma for a tour.  Then they switch on a different day.  Many students have not set foot on college campuses.  Sessions include career planning, kinds of colleges, etc. [What could be used for a retreat in other communities?]

Putnam City also has a District College Fair (no career or tech) in which students begin to think about possibilities.  In the first year, 800-1000 students participated including all three high schools and Bethany.  The second year, 400 students attended five sessions.  Parents also had a session.  Examples of sessions were career opportunities in the military, FAFSA (usually 50-75 people), etc.   Each year has to be different that the previous ones to encourage attendance.

Session - “Engaging Parents in the College Prep Process” 
Access 360 Conference, September 23, 2013
Conference sponsored by the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education
More to come...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Healthy Conversations

Although the resources below are about healthy lifestyles and mentoring, the "SMART RESPONSES" excerpts are applicable for many mentoring conversations. The age of the mentee is irrelevant.

Mentors, prepare and keep SMART RESPONSES handy. 

A SMART RESPONSE does the following:

• Avoids blaming or judging the mentee.

• Avoids harsh overreaction or “scare tactics.”

• Maintains appropriate boundaries (the mentor is not a parent, physician, therapist or peer).

• Invites the mentee to share his/her perspective on the issue.

• Opens discussion of options and choices.

• Encourages a problem-solving alliance between mentor and mentee.

• Offers information and only if wanted.


• That sounds like a tough situation.

• I’m sorry you were in a tough situation like that.

• I’m here to listen if you want to talk about that.

• I’m glad you trusted me enough to tell me.

• It must be hard for you when other kids do that.

• Have you told your parent (caregiver) about that?

• How would you feel about telling your parent (caregiver) about that?

• Is there anyone you want me to talk to about this?

• [If appropriate] I feel like I should tell the program coordinator about this, just so he/she knows the challenge you’re facing. Is that OK with you?


• How do you feel about that?

• What did you think when _______ said that?

• Now you’re faced with some choices.

• Would you like to hear my advice about that?

• Is there anyone besides me you’d like to talk to about this?

• Is there anyone you want me to talk to about this?

• That’s a situation that I’m also facing right now [or that I have faced].

   Would you like to hear about my situation?

• That was a situation I also faced when I was your age. Can I tell you about what I did?

• What have you learned about ___the topic___?

• Would you like to hear what I’ve learned about ____the topic___?

• Should we talk about this again sometime?

You can encourage your mentee to cope in healthy ways by

- Pinpointing the source of stress;

- Setting realistic goals and using time management skills;

- Taking care of physical health;

- Practicing physical relaxation techniques;

- Keeping a journal to express emotions;

- Identifying healthy ways of releasing frustrations;

- Using positive self-talk to remind him/herself about what’s going well in life;

- Learning how to get along with others better;

- Using humor; and

- Treating mistakes as learning experiences.

As a mentor, you are a friend and guide.

Be honest with your mentee.

Respect your mentee’s culture and family values and practices.

Build on your mentee’s interests.

Get help if you have any concerns or questions.

Reinforce any positive changes or choices your mentee makes and avoid
criticizing poor choices.

Practice and reinforce tolerance and kindness.

Don’t ask the mentee if he/she ____(s), e.g., drinks, is sexually active, overeats, etc.

Don’t assume that you have no influence over your mentee’s decision's.

Don’t assume your mentee knows about the dangers of _______.

Don’t make something a “forbidden fruit.”

Don’t be judgmental if the mentee mentions his/her ______. 

Don’t ask about the mentee’s family members, even if you know they ______.

Don’t urge the mentee to “lecture” or try to change the minds of peers or family
members who have __________ behavior.

For more information specifically about mentoring youths on health, see these excellent guides.

A Mentor’s Guide to Encouraging Healthy, Active Lifestyles Among Youth
A Mentor's Guide to Preventing Youth Tobacco Use
A Parent's Guide To Preventing Underage Drinking 
from The Governor's Prevention Partnership (Connecticut)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Mentor-Mentee Activities, High School, II

Excerpts from My Mentor & Me, The High School Years, published in 2001, by Dr. Susan Weinberger, also known as "Dr. Mentor," and our additional comments

Mentors guide or assist their mentees in these activities.

Take an career interest/aptitude test online. ['Both mentor an mentee!]

Search for jobs online and discuss requirements, education, etc.

Consider part-time, summer jobs, or internships in a career field.

Discuss social media and the pitfalls of posts or photos, which will damage a person's career or hurt others.

Apply for a job, but first learn about the job for which the mentee is applying.

  • Ask the mentee what he or she uniquely can contribute to the company.
  • Ask why this job is so appealing.
  • Practice interview skills.
  • Practice handshakes, eye contact, and introductions.
  • Discuss first impressions.
  • Consider the dress code.
  • Find the name of the contact person.
  • Ask about salary and/or benefits.
  • After an interview, write a thank you note. 

Find or create job shadowing opportunities.

Keep in touch by email or texting. [Dependent upon the mentoring program.]

Get involved with community service, e.g., volunteering at a food bank, soup kitchen, tutoring or mentoring a younger child, calling bingo at a nursing home, etc. Look around the community. Mentor and mentee can volunteer together.

Study financial literacy. Many free resources are online, and some banks and credit unions have educational sections for different age groups. Better Money Habits is an excellent guide.

Discuss and prepare for the high school prom. Brainstorm a list.
  • Costs and budget
              -  Prom ticket(s)
              -  Transportation
              -  Corsage and/or boutonniere 
              -  Clothing
              -  Photographs
              -  Food
              -  Other
  • How to pay for the expense
  • Whom to invite
  • How to ask that special person
  • How to react if he or she says "no"
  • Alternatives such as a group of singles going together
  • If not old enough to drive, discuss who will be the prom chauffeur.
[Over thirty years ago, a group of high school friends without dates went together. The group of seven boys and girls carefully chose their coordinated clothing, rented a limo, dined at a nice restaurant, listened to a jazz event afterwards, and had a wonderful time. They set a standard that going without a date was cool. Be creative!]

Discuss and prepare for senior trips, baccalaureate,graduation parties, graduation rehearsal, and/or high school graduation. Brainstorm the list. 
  • Check credits for graduating.
  • Discuss dates, times and places for each event.
  • Learn clothing and/or jewelry restrictions for graduation.
  • Explore costs and revenue, and create a budget.
               -  Ordering cap, gown and tassel
               -  New clothing
               -  Yearbook (Order earlier in the year.)
               -  Invitations, cards, etc. *
  • Learn whom and how many to invite (Space may be limited.)
  • Ask the future of the mentoring relationship--stopping or continuing.
  • Make a list of what the mentee will do after graduation.
  • Write personal thank you notes for all everyone who has helped the mentee during high school and perhaps earlier, e.g., special teachers, coaches, family,etc.
Prepare for summer.
  • Pursue that summer job or volunteer opportunity.
  • Research no- or low-cost summer programs in which the mentee can participate. 
  • Examine sports, music and other camps that may have scholarship funds available.
  • Discuss any permitted contact during the summer. [Dependent upon mentoring program]
  • Swap photos and business cards.
  • Determine when mentor and mentee will see each other again if the mentee is not a senior.
  • Give the mentee a journal and ask him or her to write in it over the summer.
*  For ideas, not necessarily purchase
  • (design your own and mail order)
  • Create one's own with school or home software and print at home or at a printing business after comparing prices.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mentor-Mentee Activities, High School, I

Excerpts from My Mentor & Me, The High School Years, published in 2001, by Dr. Susan Weinberger, also known as "Dr. Mentor," and our additional comments

Do an icebreaker or other getting to know each other activity.


  • Play basketball in a gym or outside.
  • Walk around the school while talking.
  • Dance--teach each other new steps.
  • "Aerobisize."
  • Jump rope. 
  • Play volleyball [even if only perfecting how to serve].
  • Jog (keep an exercise log.
  • Play hacky sack. 
  • Throw a frisbee.
  • Throw or catch a football. 
  • Throw baseballs, bat a ball, or practice catching.
  • Practice putting. [Used golf clubs can be found at many thrift stores.]

Write a personal mission statement. Ask your mentee to answer these questions.

  • What is exciting and not so exciting about my life right now?
  • What would be the ideal day in my life? Who would I be? Where would I be?
  • What are two-three talents or abilities I believe I have which others may also think I possess? 
  • What is one talent or ability that I believe I have or "could have" but others don't seem to see it in me?
  • What moment in my life brought me the most personal satisfaction or sense of accomplishment? 
  • What is my life about? What are my values? What am I working toward to accomplish in my life?
Keep it short! Encourage your mentee to write a draft. Have your mentee reread it and say: "I think this is who I really am!"

Set goals.

  • Be realistic.
  • Be challenging.
  • Have a deadline.
  • Be specific.
  • Be attainable.

Discuss cars. [Research online if needed.]

  • Paying for the car
  • First step in getting a driver's license.
  • Practice questions for the written exam
  • Kinds of car insurance and how to pay for it
  • Costs
          -    car tags and driver's license
          -    normal repairs and maintenance
          -    gasoline
  • Kind of car mentee would like
  • Pros and cons of a new car versus a used car
  • Other responsibilities in owning a car
  • Distracted or impaired driving
  • Visiting several car lots and discussing sales pitches 

Discuss education and training for future lifestyles.

  • Explore online what different occupations require in education and earn.
  • Discuss steps to get training or education.
  • Remember life now is a journey. Education and training never end.

Be well-rounded.

  • Community service and school involvement
  • Sports, band, vocal music, theater, or school organizations

Write a little story about the cultural heritage of the mentor and mentee after sharing.

Solve problems.

  • Identify the problem.
  • Identify the feelings surrounding the conflict.
  • Brainstorm solutions.
  • Choose one idea to try.
  • Evaluate the success of the plan.
  • If the solution is ineffective, choose another idea and proceed.

Communicate with your mentee.

  • I care - Let your mentee know that he or she is important to you.
  • I see - Focus on observable behavior.
  • I feel - Give your mentee the benefit of knowing how you feel about the behavior.
  • Pause - Be prepared for silence, anger, a sad story or an emotional outpouring.
  • I want - Once you have heard your mentee's perspective, let him or her know what you would like to have happen.
  • I will - Let your mentee know what you will do to support him or her. Leave the door open.

Demonstrate etiquette and good social skills.

  • Use "please" and "thank you."
  • Never wear your hat or cap indoors.
  • Practice shaking hands.
  • Practice dining out, e.g., place napkin in lap first, identify correct use and placement of utensils, know the bread plate is on your left, etc. 
  • Research online or in books together and then practice.

Demonstrate and discuss cell phone etiquette.

Investigate a post-secondary training and education.

  • Visit a local college or career tech [perhaps with other mentors and mentees as a special event or take along his or her parents].
  • Arrange a guided tour prior to your visit. 
  • Research admissions and costs. 
  • Practice completing a college application.
  • Investigate how to pay for further education or training.
  • Review all costs.

Help your mentee begin a resume and then make a professional draft.

  • Jobs - babysitting, yard work, custodial work, life guard, and other paid positions
  • School activities
  • Out-of-school activities
  • Personal interests or hobbies
  • Entire educational experience
  • Awards or honors
  • Special skills and talents
  • Objectives 

Design and make a business card. Consider including a personal logo.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone
  • Fax if applicable
  • E-mail
  • Website or social media

More to come...