Tuesday, June 30, 2015

12 Money Lessons for Kids

These relatively simple money lessons are highly adaptable for mentees. 

12 Money Lessons Your Child Should Know Before Age 12

by Christine Alford
June 25, 2015

There is unfortunately a significant lack of financial education in our country, which makes it more important than ever for parents to teach basic money lessons to their children.
Although some financial topics might seem challenging, you might be surprised what your children can absorb. From about age five, children can understand saving and spending, and as they get older they can learn more about budgeting and even investing.
To give you some examples, here are 12 money lessons your child can learn before age 12:
1. What it means to buy a stock.
Even a younger child can understand the concept of buying a stock. Explain to them that when they buy stock, they are buying a small portion of a company. If the company does well, they make money since they are a partial owner in the company. If it doesn’t do well, they could lose money. Sit with them and pick out a few companies they recognize and follow the stock from week to week to explain your point.       
2. What it means to be greedy.  
Most children can understand the feeling of greed, especially in terms of not wanting to share toys. However, they need to understand the consequences of greed. Explain to them what happens when one person hoards all the resources. Teach them to be giving instead of greedy. 
3. How to donate wisely.  
Your child is going to come across a lot of people who want them to donate their money. You can teach them how to research a cause or a company or how to be giving to a friend in need.  
4. How to budget.  
Budgeting is one of life’s most essential skills, right up there with learning how to do your own laundry and make a simple dinner. When you teach a child to budget, or better yet, have them learn from your budgeting skills, you will give them a lifetime of financial security.
5. What it means to pay taxes and fees. 

Most older children will know what the word “taxes” means in theory, but you could always take it a step further by imposing your own tax. Also, I once knew a family who charged late fees if chores weren’t done on time. Their kids learned a valuable lesson and, of course, learned that people mean business when they threaten to impose fees.
6. How to save for large purchases.
In a world where adults are frequently offered 0 percent store cards so they can make large purchases right when they want them, it’s important to teach your children how to save for large purchases. Not only will it give them time to decide if it’s something they really want, but they can get the satisfaction of paying for something that they worked so hard to save for.
7. What it means to be in debt.  
I remember my mother telling me that debt is a fact of life, but I’ve come to realize that there are many people and families who operate entirely debt-free. It’s my goal to also be debt free someday, and I want my children to know that’s the real way to experience a life of financial freedom. 
8. How to track your spending.                       

One of the quickest ways to learn how to manage money is simply to know where it’s going. If you give your child $5 but they don’t know where it went after a few days, it’s time to encourage them to keep track of what they spend. They can record it by hand or type it into their phones if they are old enough to have one.
9. Defining needs versus wants.
It’s a good exercise for everyone to go over what needs are versus what wants are. Talking to your child and asking them to point out which things in the house are needs or wants will help to reemphasize this.
10. How to buy used items.  

Some people are against buying used, and if that’s you, that’s perfectly fine. Just teach your child that there is an option to buy used, whether it’s for clothes or iPhones.  
11. The meaning of compound interest.  

This is likely a lesson for older kids, but like buying stocks, it’s good preparation for future investing. You can teach them how to calculate compound interest and basically give the lesson that the earlier they invest, the better off they’ll be.           
12. How to use credit wisely.
Teach your child how a credit card works or they might assume it constitutes free money. Let them know that whenever you swipe the card, you have to pay it off at the end of the month. Let them know that if you don’t pay it off, you will be charged interest, and if the payment is late, lots of fees. They should have an understanding of interest and fees from the lessons mentioned above, so it all comes full circle.
Ultimately, as a parent, teaching your children about money is probably one of the most important gifts you can ever give them. Smart money management will set them up for a lifetime of stability and freedom, and who doesn’t want that for their kids?

Ret. 6-28-15

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mentor 2, Fairview's Mission Mentors Appreciation Dinner

Editor’s Note
This is a transcript of Christine Sorrels’ presentation at Fairview's Mission Mentors Appreciation Banquet. A Yukon Public Schools mentor and mentoring director, Christine’s story encompasses the beginning of Yukon’s mentoring program, mentors’ making an impact, mentoring Jeremy, and encouraging other mentors and potential mentors. More information about Christine and Yukon follow.

Salute to Mission Mentors
As I was looking at your Mission Mentors website, http://www.missionmentors.com/,
I was very impressed with the success you have had with mentors and mentee since your beginning in 2010. That first year you had 50 matches. This year 70 or more! That is remarkable! Congratulations to John Medley, your Mentor of the Year, honored at the State Capitol in January. Also, the Mission Mentors YouTube video, https://youtu.be/he3dZpd6JoI, is very cool! We may have to borrow your format.

Yukon Public School's Miller Mentors
In 1998, I attended a Youth Friends Mentoring conference in Kansas City, Missouri. It was the only formal mentoring program around that had training on how to begin a mentoring program. I felt our Yukon Public Schools Helping Hand Volunteer Program would be a great fit for school-based mentoring, which was really needed in our community. For example, in 1998 the United States rated at 34 per cent the highest number of single-parent families among developed countries. Oklahoma has consistently been in the top ten states with the highest divorce rate, in fact, number one in the USA in 2011.

Funding & Planning
I applied and received a Learn & Serve grant to start our program.  Not a lot of folks had heard about mentoring then. Counselors understood the need for and wanted mentors. Understandably, teachers, on the other hand, were not too thrilled to have students pulled from their instructional time throughout the day. 

So we compromised that first year by mentoring from 2:45 to 3:25 p.m. at the end of the school day. Many of the students who were referred were already being pulled out of their classrooms for math or reading labs or other specials in their Individual Education Plan (IEP). Teachers wanted the time with these students to give them as much instruction in their classrooms as possible. As a former second grade teacher, I understood their concerns.

The Pilot and Results
In January 1999, we kicked off the program with nine mentors at Skyview Elementary School. At the end of that school year, teachers that had students with a mentor were sold! Mentors had made a positive change in their mentees’ behavior, school attendance, and grades. The teachers said, ‘Tell the mentors to come any time of day, whenever it’s convenient for them! And get more…because we have many more students who need a mentor!’

The next year we had 41 matches at four school sites.  By the third year, we were in five of Yukon’s seven elementary schools with 96 matches. 

Mentors’ Making an Impact
Many times, especially at the beginning of a new mentoring relationship, mentors may not feel as if they are making an impact on a child’s life. I know because I mentored a second-grade girl who was struggling with many issues. Kammie, my mentee, was unable to pass second grade, although I had mentored her for half a year. Disappointed in myself, I felt as if I had failed her.

But for the past 16 years since we began our program, I can tell you more often than not mentoring does make a huge impact in a child’s life even if the child does not know how to express that back to the mentor.

As you know many of the students we mentor have never been taught appreciation. They have only been taught rejection, sadness, and a lack of self-worth whether it is because of academic struggles, a lack of caring and nurturing at home, or a combination of both.

As it turned out, failing was a good move for my little mentee. Her not being able to pass the second grade actually helped her mature and develop better skills and coping with school. 

She just graduated from Yukon High school a couple of weeks ago and began taking summer college classes this week! Yes, I continued to mentor her. I didn’t give up.

Our program’s mission statement is "Mentors will serve as role models and tutors providing academic and social support to empower and motivate students to succeed." It may take more than one  semester or even one school year to feel you are having success with a child you are mentoring…but don’t give up!

At orientations, I always tell our mentors that most of us have had at least one person in our lives that made a difference. Even as a young adult or in your work, someone may have taken a special interest in you with a constructive positive attitude that influenced your outcome. I tell them, "You might not have called them a mentor back then. Can you, however, recall how that person made a difference in your life? ‘How he or she made you feel or how you could see things in a different perspective for your life?"

Jeremy Bennett & Christine Sorrels

Bonding through Adversity
Jeremy is another of our program’s success stories. In 1999, several teachers and I were asked to help with remediation tutoring and mentoring after school for a group of students. I was matched with a young man named Jeremy Bennett.  It was a tough time for Jeremy Bennett as his mother was going through some very difficult health issues. At that time I was dealing with the impending death of my sister, who had a 13-year-old daughter whom I loved and finished rearing.  Both women, Jeremy’s mom and my sister, passed within weeks of each other from the same disease.  Needless to say, Jeremy and I created a strong bond.

Sealing the Bond
Later Jeremy and I reconnected again at the local cancer charity, the Relay For Life. Because so many folks that year were in the stadium and so many luminaries on the football field, an announcement was made that no children would be allowed on the field. Jeremy was devastated. He sought me out in the crowd, and he told me that he would not be allowed to light his mother’s memorial luminary. He asked me if I would do it for him. Fiercely determined, I grabbed his hand, and together we walked onto the stadium floor. Not turned away, we lit both of their luminaries together. That lighting ceremony was an unforgettable emotional moment in my life.

Jeremy's Growing Older
As Jeremy went through high school, we didn’t have formal mentoring meetings, but I always kept up with him. Always happy to see each other, we would pass in the hallways at school, stop, and spend a few minutes catching up. I witnessed his leadership skills grow stronger and stronger.  He was an officer in Yukon’s agriculture classes. I heard an outstanding speech he gave to middle school students about skills and responsibilities of being an officer in the agriculture program. Jeremy went on to compete nationally in FFA. Jeremy, a graduate of Oklahoma State University, currently is the field representative for Congressmen Frank D. Lucas. Reading in our local newspaper about Jeremy’s accomplishments throughout his high school and college life pleased me.

Last school year, I had one of the biggest thrills of my life when Jeremy walked into my office at the school’s administration building. The first thing he said was, "Mrs. Sorrels, do you remember me?" As my eyes filled with tears of happiness from seeing him, he said, "I’m here because I’m in a position now where I just want to give back."

Jeremy's Mentoring
Jeremy began mentoring a third-grade boy last year. This year while mentoring two third-grade boys, Jeremy has already made quite an impact in their lives as well as upon the faculty and staff of Myers Elementary and Yukon Schools.

Encouragement to Live and Mentor Passionately
I would like to close with these words from the Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard, as a reminder to each of us, including myself, to think about what you choose to do each day and for next school year as you re-up to mentor again.

Most people are reactive vs proactive. We allow other people and their needs to dictate our days…Setting goals for each day, being intentional about living now! That is where true joy and happiness come from. LIVE NOW! How often do you live your life telling yourself, I have a little more busywork THEN I can relax; THEN I can enjoy my children; THEN I can pursue my life's work; THEN I can be happy? Don't do the minimum each day, choking through life waiting for happiness to knock on your door. Be intentional with your life, you have the choice to create happiness!

Burchard’s ideas are nothing new, but many of us must motivate ourselves to be intentional and make critical choices. We don’t have a second chance, folks…as you have heard before, this isn’t a dress rehearsal… this is your life; therefore,

1)    Choose to elevate OTHERS!

2)    Commitment to be consistent and dependable – to maintain a steady presence in the life of the youth you have mentored or will be mentoring next year.

3)    Spread the word… you are the greatest recruitment tool for Oklahoma’s children. 

Introduction of Jeremy
I’m so proud of the work and dedication my ‘mentee turned mentor’ is doing with his students. Everyone needs a ‘Jeremy’ in his or her life. It is my honor to introduce Yukon’s 2014-2015 Mentor of the Year, Jeremy Bennett.

See the next post for Jeremy’s sharing his mentoring experience.

More about Christine & Yukon Public Schools, Yukon, OK
Christine Sorrels, a mentor since 1998, is the director of Yukon Public Schools Helping Hand Volunteer Program, 45 years old, and Miller Mentors. Yukon, once a closely-knit rural area near Oklahoma City, is a rapidly growing suburban community of about 25,000 people. In addition to several other school programs, Christine and her staff/sidekicks, Christal Whitmire and Donna Klukas, encourage and supervise over 750 volunteers, mentors, and academic tutors within nine elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and one alternative school. ‘A masterful achievement! Yukon’s goal with so many structured contact mechanisms between students and community members is to preserve the small town atmosphere in burgeoning suburbia. Perhaps more importantly than all of her accomplishments and well-executed responsibilities, Christine is the mentor of the mentee turned mentor.

For more information about Yukon Public Schools Helping Hand Volunteers and Miller Mentoring Program, http://www.yukonps.com/OurStudents/HelpingHandsProgram/tabid/436/Default.asp

Yukon, located along historic Route 66, has long been known for its grain milling industries, hence the apropos name of the program, Miller Mentors. 

We are so proud of the leadership of western Oklahoma towns such as Fairview and Yukon to begin and sustain effective mentoring programs. 

​ ​

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mentors Help Regulate Emotions

If you are not subscribing to and reading The Chronicle of Evidenced-Based Mentoring online, you are missing an ocean of useful information. 

By  June 14, 2015

Read More →

Five important ways that mentors help youth regulate their emotions

Emotion Regulation in Mentoring Relationships
by  Ben-Eliyahu, Ph.D.

Long ago, psychologists recognized the important role that emotions can play in shaping the quality of our relationships and, more generally, our life courses. Emotions spark the bond between parents and their newborns; they attract romantic partners and they draw us to certain activities and deter us from others. Importantly, emotions can also lead us to falter in our relationships, goals, and aspirations. Although not always recognized, mentors can play a pivotal role in helping young people recognize and regulate their emotions.
Emotion regulation is the capacity to notice and control one’s emotions. People can regulate their emotions by themselves (intrinsic regulation) or through interactions with others (extrinsic regulation). Through a process of learning techniques from other people, extrinsic regulation can become intrinsic. This process can occur with family members (such as parents or siblings), with peers, with teachers, and in mentoring relationships.
We all know that students who have close, enduring mentoring relationships also tend to have higher academic achievement, improved social relationships, and enhanced self-worth. Through the relationship, students grow and learn, and they appear more resilient. When mentors provide practical guidance on how to solve math problems or write an essay, how to fill out a college application, or cope with a romantic relationships, they also provided extrinsic emotion regulation. That is, through help and discussion, mentors provide an outside source for regulation.
Imagine that a mentor is working with a young woman who is struggling to stay on top of her grades because she is easily distracted, often argues with her siblings at night, and has trouble completing studying and her homework. Scholars in the field of emotion regulation have recognized five ways in which people can model and assist with extrinsic regulation that have implications for mentors.

  • Situation selection-refers to opting in or out of a situation. Mentors can be instrumental in helping mentees select situations that would be preferable – places where mentee can feel safe, complete her work, develop healthy relationships, learn, and grow. However, sometimes, youth do not have the privilege of choosing adaptive situations. In these cases, mentors can help students alter elements of the situation.

  • Situation modification-refers to helping a young person make the best of their situation. Mentors can help mentees think about characteristics of situations that might engender concentration difficulties, and help her develop strategies to reduce them. For example, the mentor can help her mentee compose a song to aid in memorizing the periodical table, or rearrange the student’s study space to reduce distractions. Mentors can also offer different ways that their mentee can word or frame verbal interactions to decrease negative conflict. Role-playing might be especially helpful in identifying and modifying communication styles and word choice. The other three forms of emotion regulation strategies are more internal to the individual, but can be shaped by the mentor and others nonetheless.

  • Attentional deployment-By helping mentees focus on certain aspects within a given situation, mentors can influence the mentee’s emotional responses. Suggesting music or meditational techniques that distract one’s attention from external or internal noise are examples of how one can shift their focus. Mentors can also help students focus on positive aspects of a classroom rather than on disliked peers or teachers.

  • Reappraisal-A slightly different strategy refers to the interpretation one imbues on the situation. Because emotion is tightly related to the appraisal one has of the situation, being able to reappraise the situation in a positive light is especially helpful. Mentors can encourage mentees to re-frame stressful or disappointing situations (such as a bad grade or not being invited to a party), and guide mentees to learn and grow. Perhaps a bad grade signals the need for improved study skills or more effort; maybe not going to a party allows one to focus on studies or develop relationships with another group of friends.

  • Physical adjustment-The final form of emotion regulation strategy refers to the behavioral, experiential, and physiological experiences of the young person. Many of us take deep breaths to relax when we are nervous (before speech or an exam). This shifts our physiological state from anxiety (short quick breathes) to calm (long deep breathes) by slowing down our nervous system. Such techniques that use actions or behaviors to influence our physiological states can help shift our emotional reactions. Mentors can invite mentees to try out different ways to adjust their physical responses by introducing the mentee or helping them search for different techniques

Emotions are pivotal in determining young people’s involvement with academics, work, or social life. Through co-regulation of emotions, mentors educate mentees about different ways to adjust emotions, through changing the situation, shifting one’s focus, or physical change. In this sense, mentors are extrinsic emotion regulators, whose strategies and techniques are internalized by the mentee over the course of the relationship.
Ret. 6-19-15

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mentor 1, Fairview's Mission Mentors Appreciation Dinner

Editor's Note
Celebrating mentors and hearing mentoring stories always inspire us. Below is an excerpt from the evening’s presentations. John Medley, Mission Mentors’ 2015 Mentor of the Year, shared his experience in the transcript below. His story reveals the kind of man John Medley is.

John's Story
Five years ago, Rocky Burchfield, Fairview’s superintendent of schools, approached me about becoming a mentor. I really wasn't interested. Rocky said he had the perfect boy for me.  I don't know why, but I said OK.

Cole, my mentee, is a good student with no apparent problems. During his fifth-grade year, he asked me to go on his class field trip. We went to the State Capitol. A year later I was honored as the Mentor of the Year, and again we went to the Capitol.  We had a great time. 

When I pick him up after school, his first words are usually, "I don't have any homework." One day we played a game of pool and were about to start a second one when he said, "I forgot. I have homework. Can I work on it now?" He had about 20 math problems. We discussed what he was doing and how to do it. The light bulb came on, and he finished most of them before I took him home.

When I went to watch his first junior high baseball practice, the coach had 37 boys out. I asked if I could take some of them and do something.  The coach gave me 20, and we practiced throwing. When it was over, he asked if I would be back tomorrow, and I was.

Cole is a great kid.  His mother was a student of my wife, Edith.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a mentor.

Not said at the banquet but added later through personal communication:

Cole’s dad died from a bad disease just before school started. His mother thought he needed a male in his life. The next year I developed cancer, lymphoma/ leukemia.  I knew I was going to die and tried to get out of being a mentor. Cole’s mom said she would talk to him, and Cole said he would keep me. She remarried, and he and his step-dad get along great.  Again I thought I wasn't needed.  Cole thought differently.

The first four years we mostly played games at the school. Now and then I would pick him up for lunch. A quick stop pizza was his choice. This year I have attended sporting events.

John Medley's Mentor of the Year Tribute

Below is the original tribute that Randi Lackey, Mission Mentors’ Match Support Specialist, sent to recognize John as Mission Mentors’ Mentor of the Year.

Mission Mentors has selected John Medley as its Mentor of the Year. John has been a devoted role model for his mentee, Cole, since the program began in 2010. Despite his grueling battle with cancer, John has been so dedicated in being involved with Cole, ensuring he never missed a visit during the school year. Mission Mentors does not require the mentors to meet during the summer, but John has always gone above and beyond, making sure he attended summer baseball games, practices, and lunch outings.  Every week, John picks up Cole and helps him with homework, and then treats him to a game of pool at our local bowling alley. Cole lost his father suddenly in 2008 and John has been a wonderful role model, allowing Cole to thrive as a student, son, and young man.
In addition, John has a servant’s heart.  He served in the U.S. Army during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1960-1963.* He now serves as a faithful deacon at First Baptist Church in Fairview. John retired from the US Postal Service as the Superintendent of Postal Operations in Fairview.
*  John was stationed in Germany for two years.  His wife was with him for one year, and their youngest daughter was born there in the backseat of a new Mercedes, a taxi. 

Wanda Pratt, aka "Mama Durant;" Cole, John's mentee; John Medley,
Mission Mentors' Mentor of the Year; and Linda Neal, president of the
Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in the House Chamber,
Oklahoma State Capitol January 15, 2015.

Cole and John

About Mission Mentors and Fairview

Randi Lackey, match support specialist; Jeremy Bennett,
co-speaker and a field representative for Congressman
Frank Lucas; Vicki Ewbank and Susie Harder, founding
directors of Mission Mentors; Christine Sorrels, co-speaker
and director of Yukon Public Schools Miller Mentors
and Helping Hand Volunteers; Rocky Burchfield,
superintendent of Fairview; and Jennifer Bur
also a founding director of the mentoring program

Fairview, a rural, western Oklahoma town with a population of about 2,500, began Mission Mentors in 2010. Superintendent Burchfield and the Mission Mentors Board of Directors decided that school-based mentoring for grades 1st-5th and community-based mentoring for grades 6th-12th would work best for them. This hybrid model has become one of Oklahoma's four best school-based mentoring models.

The Mentor Appreciation Banquet, June 4, 2015, had two other speakers, parts of whose presentations will appear in subsequent posts. Calleen Davis, a Fairview resident, catered the outstanding homemade food, including sliced beef that melted in one's mouth, chicken, blueberry bread pudding, chocolate cake, and more. The historic, remodeled Fairview Community Center is the perfect venue for such an event.

Blackledge Hall

About Mission Mentors' Hybrid Mentoring Program

About the Mission Mentors  http://www.missionmentors.com 

Video https://youtu.be/he3dZpd6JoI  

We salute Fairview's Mission Mentors team--the town, the board, and the school system. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Free Mentoring Podcasts, 5-10 Minutes

If you are not subscribing to The Chronicle of Evidenced-based Mentoring, you are missing so much. We cannot possibly share all the tremendous resources available there. Note the list below was originally shared in March. Imagine all that will be forthcoming!
By  March 14, 2015Read More →

Listen and Learn: Subscribe to the Free Mentoring U Podcast Series

dog-earLet Mentoring U teach you about the latest mentoring and youth development research.  The  podcasts each run about 5-10 minutes and promise to entertain you with lively interviews, and inform you about mentoring-related news.
Produced by award-winning radio host, Micheline Mann, the Chronicle’s podcast series was recently described by one listener as “like NPR for mentoring.”

Here is a complete listing of all the articles that have been podcasted:

Ret. 5-29-15