|Susan McCall (back row, center), a volunteer for Jacob’s Ladder of Stroud, receives an Outstanding Mentor Award from Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Chairman David L. Boren (left) and President Anil Gollahalli during Oklahoma Mentor Day at the Capitol. They are joined by McCall’s mentees Faith, Heavyn, Olivia, Bryce, Landon, Kambree, Cody, Jessen, Max, Willa, Darius and Jaxon. (Photo by Travis Caperton, Oklahoma State Capitol)|
Jacob’s Ladder, Stroud
Susan McCall, a nurse at Chandler Nursing Center, has been selected as the outstanding mentor for Jacobs’ Ladder of Stroud, a community-supported after-school program serving children in first through third grades.
Children are referred to the program by their classroom teachers, who recognize the child’s need for a structured environment to complete school studies and also to receive help in basic reading and math skills, said Jacob’s Ladder founder and director Kim Wheeler, who is also executive vice president of Stroud National Bank.
“Susan works hard sharing her talents with people in need,” Kim said. “She shares herself volunteering several hours each school day and then goes to work all night at her nursing home job.”
After school, the bus drops children off at Jacob’s Ladder, and each child receives a fully cooked meal before settling down for tutoring and homework oversight, Kim said. Susan plays an integral role in activities, preparing the meals for the children, cleaning the kitchen and then helps with tutoring.
“She spends countless hours helping the children and will not accept remuneration,” Kim said. “She says, ‘This is my gift,’ and ‘This is what I want to do.’ Susan’s special personality enriches all who truly know her, and I am proud to call her my friend.”
Over the past 15 years, many children have benefited from the volunteers serving Jacob’s Ladder, Kim added. “Most of the students in the program have missed something that is easy to correct if recognized early in their education,” he said. “Reading skills sometimes require significant practice when a child is just beginning to read. We want our students to have an ‘I can do that’ attitude instead of a negative attitude toward reading and math.”