OFE News Release
Foundation Seeks Youth Mentoring Programs for Statewide Online Mentoring Directory
June 21, 2006
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is seeking youth mentoring and tutoring programs across the state to be added to an online directory of Oklahoma mentoring programs. The directory is a component of the foundation’s new David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative, designed to encourage the growth and development of school-based mentoring programs in Oklahoma.
School, community and faith-based mentoring and tutoring programs serving youth are encouraged to register their programs online at www.ofe.org or by contacting Charlotte Jones, mentoring program liaison, at (405) 236-0006. Registrants will be added to a web-based directory of Oklahoma mentoring programs and will receive information about mentor program training and networking opportunities. In addition, registrants will have the opportunity to promote their services and recruit prospective volunteers through the online directory.
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, founded in 1985 by then U.S. Sen. David L. Boren, is a statewide nonprofit that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. Now president of the University of Oklahoma, Boren continues to serve as chairman of the foundation. Inspired by Boren’s vision and the proven impact of mentoring on academic success, the foundation has created the Boren Mentoring Initiative to promote and strengthen mentoring efforts across the state.
“Through our own Schusterman Mentor Program for Academic All-State alumni, we have seen the powerful impact that mentoring can have on academic success, as well as on a child’s self-confidence,” said Emily Stratton, executive director of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. “We see mentorship programs as critical to the success of public education in Oklahoma in the 21st century.”
Melynda Stone, executive director of Volunteers for Youth in Claremore, has listed her program in the online directory and said she is excited about the opportunities for collaboration that the mentoring initiative will provide. “There are many different kinds of student mentoring programs taking place around the state, but until now there hasn’t been a concerted statewide effort to provide training, networking and promotional opportunities.”
The foundation introduced the mentoring initiative during its 2005 Fall Forum for Local Education Foundations by offering its first annual mentoring seminars. The foundation also has created a mentoring Web site at www.ofe.org/mentoring with guidelines on how to start an effective mentoring program, tips for prospective volunteers and the statewide directory of mentoring programs. The Foundation for Excellence is planning a publicity campaign to promote mentoring across the state and has received the endorsement of First Lady Kim Henry, who will assist in promoting National Mentoring Month in January.
The foundation also is promoting mentoring through its outreach program to local education foundations and school districts throughout Oklahoma and is encouraging its own trustees and Academic All-State alumni to join in the effort. In an address to public school foundation leaders, Boren challenged participants to help “harness the goodness” of Oklahomans by mobilizing volunteers in their communities to mentor students in need.
“Think what would happen if all children in Oklahoma had mentors — someone to spend time with them, to tutor them, to love them,” Boren said. “Think about how it would transform this state. It would be truly revolutionary!”
For more information, contact the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence at (405) 236-0006 or visit the foundation’s Web site at www.ofe.org.