OFE News Release
Foundation Marks National Mentoring Month By Promoting Mentoring Opportunities Statewide
December 30, 2007
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is celebrating National Mentoring Month in January by encouraging Oklahomans to make a difference in a child’s life by becoming a volunteer mentor. The theme for the 2008 national Mentoring Month is “Share What You Know: Become a Mentor.”
Through its David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative, the foundation has developed a Web site at www.okmentors.org with a statewide directory of more than 65 mentoring opportunities. Prospective volunteers can log on to the Web site or call (405) 410-1523 to learn about mentoring opportunities in their community. In the Tulsa area, prospective volunteers can also call the City of Tulsa Helpline at 211 to learn about mentoring opportunities.
“During Mentoring Month, we want to raise awareness of the need for mentors in our state and encourage Oklahomans to volunteer just one hour a week to make a difference in the life of a child,” said Jennifer Geren, director of the Boren Mentoring Initiative. “Research demonstrates that mentoring helps children increase self confidence, strengthen their relationships with others, improve academic performance and make healthier choices.”
As part of its efforts to promote Mentoring Month, the Foundation for Excellence is distributing public service announcements to state newspapers, radio stations and television stations. One of the television spots features First Lady Kim Henry.
Geren said Mentoring Month is also a time to recognize the many volunteers, schools, churches and community organizations that are working together to provide a brighter future for many Oklahoma children. Oklahoma mentoring organizations are being encouraged to celebrate “Thank Your Mentor Day” on Jan. 24 by sending thank-you cards to or hosting events to recognize volunteers.
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 by then-U.S. Sen. David L. Boren, recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. In 2005, the foundation launched the Boren Mentoring Initiative to promote the growth and development of school-based mentoring statewide. The initiative grew out of Boren’s own commitment to mentoring and the proven impact that mentoring can play on a student’s success in and out of the classroom.
“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 how it would transform this state? It would be truly revolutionary!”
Through the mentoring initiative, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is working with school districts and its network of 199 public school foundations to promote mentoring as a positive step toward academic excellence. The foundation is also providing training, marketing and networking opportunities for new and established mentoring programs, and encouraging programs to follow established standards for safe and effective practice.
In 2008, the foundation plans to partner with Devon Energy, INTEGRIS and the Oklahoma City Public Schools’ Partners in Education Program to sponsor workshops on how to establish a corporate mentoring program. Workshops are being planned in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
“We want to encourage Oklahoma businesses to support mentoring by partnering with neighborhood schools and allowing employees one hour a week to volunteer as mentors or tutors,” Geren said. “Not only is corporate mentoring good for the community, but it has been shown to actually increase employee productivity and teamwork.”
In addition to providing support for mentoring programs across the state, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence sponsors its own mentoring program, which matches Academic All-State alumni with elementary students in Oklahoma City, Norman, Tulsa, Stillwater and Weatherford.
“Through our All-State alumni mentoring program, we have seen the powerful impact that mentoring can have on the volunteer as well as the child,” Geren said. “Volunteers enjoy mentoring because it gives them a chance to share important life lessons and to be a valued friend to a child who needs them.”
During Mentoring Month, Geren will be available to speak to groups and media about the Boren Mentoring Initiative and ways that citizens can support mentoring in their communities.
For more information, contact Jennifer Geren at (405) 410-1523 or visit the Boren Mentoring Initiative Web site at www.okmentors.org.