Wednesday, November 5, 2014

TEEM, Mentor Appreciation & Awareness

When Jenna McCullock, mentor coordinator of The Education & Employment Ministry (TEEM) reported new mentor numbers for the Coaches' Mentoring Challenge, she attributed the new mentors to an event.

TEEM uses research-based programming with lots of love and accountability to guide inmates from eighteen years old and older as they transition to build strong families and create positive futures. Mentoring is a key element of the program. 

TEEM Honors Mentors and Mentees during Mentor Appreciation and Awareness Event

Oklahoma City, OK—It was the perfect evening to be on the rooftop of Plenty Mercantile. The September air was filled with laughter, a cool Oklahoma breeze and the smell of Mutt’s Amazing Hot Dogs. The downtown Oklahoma City skyline provided a scenic backdrop as attendees shared stories of hope, restoration and friendship. On September 23, TEEM honored participants in its mentor program—an initiative designed to positively influence individuals impacted by generational cycles of incarceration and poverty in Oklahoma—and encouraged attendees to provide a hand-up to individuals reentering the Oklahoma City community.

Speaker: Patrick Raglow,
executive director of Catholic Charities 

The event honored current mentors and encouraged the community to join TEEM’s mentor program. One of TEEM’s primary organizational goals is to change the stereotypes commonly attached to formerly incarcerated individuals. Six months prior to their release from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, the nonprofit aims to appropriately match each TEEM participant with an active mentor.

After a greeting from TEEM staff, attendees viewed a video produced by OKC Good featuring various mentor and mentee stories. They then witnessed a Q&A session between mentor Terry Dyke and mentee Dawan Brooks. After examining obvious differences, Terry and Dawan concentrated on their similarities and highlighted how the unlikely duo have formed a brotherly bond.

“If their goal was to honor TEEM mentors, I think that TEEM’s staff has truly accomplished that,” Dyke said. “I’ve never felt more appreciated in my life.”

Patrick Raglow, a retired U.S. Air Force Cornel and current Executive Director of Catholic Charities, reminded participants at the event that time is valuable. Raglow delivered a message that concentrated on the importance of doing the best with the 24 hours everyone is given each day.

Follow Raglow’s message, TEEM’s Mentor Coordinator Jenna McCullock recounted the power of encouragement in a recent volunteer experience at the Redman Triathlon and offered potential mentors a chance to play an active role by supporting participants in the marathon of life.

“Here at TEEM, we have the opportunity to cheer these men and women on,” McCullock said. “We are able to build relationships and support them as they are transitioning.”

Mentor and mentee
TEEM is an interfaith, 501(c) 3, nonprofit that exists to break cycles of incarceration and poverty in Oklahoma through education, character development and work readiness training. With a service model incorporating evidence-based curriculum, one-on-one mentoring, effective case management, occupational skills training, social services assistance and job placement services, TEEM aims to reduce recidivism rates, strengthen families and increase public safety. Approximately 8,400 inmates are released from Oklahoma’s prisons each year. Of this number, 24 percent will recidivate within 3 years of release. TEEM’s holistic approach works to change this trend by providing comprehensive reentry services to individuals transitioning out of incarceration. 

by Lance Evans, TEEM communications coordinator

For further information on TEEM’s mentor program, please contact Jenna McCullock at 405-235-5671 or via email at 

For more information about TEEM, please visit or contact Anna Geary at

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