Division of Management & International Business Mentoring Program, Price College of Business, University of Oklahoma, Norman
Mentees: College sophomores through seniors
Ronald Anderson coordinates the Management & International Business Division Board of Advisor’s mentoring program and has since its inception. Anderson is responsible for recruiting mentees and mentors, chairing the matching committee, managing the logistics of the program and all events, and has done so for the nine years of the program’s existence.
“Professor Anderson is the driving force behind our program,” shared Mark Sharfman, director of Division of Management and International Business. “Over 100 students have benefitted from our mentoring program thanks to his dedication. Professor Anderson has expanded the program to include students who excel as well as those that need extra academic support. His successful outreach to all students has made this program special.”
Anderson really enjoys the program’s “check-in” meetings that include company visits. In addition to bringing the community of mentors and mentees together these meetings take place at area companies, allowing students to take tours and interact both with their mentors and with company executives.
“In addition to his overall mentoring program efforts, Professor Anderson has also been a personal mentor to veterans who have returned to school and has been instrumental in these veterans staying in school,” said Sharfman. “Without his dedication we would not have this highly successful and well- regarded program for our students.”
About the Program: The Division of Management & International Business Mentoring Program is designed to help students make the transition from school to work. Students are paired with local executives to help them develop as professionals and prepare themselves to add value in the work place from day one. Mentees are sophomores, juniors and seniors who have been admitted to Price College and have declared one of the Division of Management & International Business majors.
College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Peer Mentor Program, Oklahoma State University
Mentee: Megan Lyman
Sarah Casey is an Oklahoma State University senior majoring in chemical engineering. She and her mentee, Megan, have been meeting since Megan started at OSU this August.
“Sarah has an intrinsic passion for mentoring others and has been a part of our mentoring program for the past several years,” said Jordan Blackburn, coordinator of Student Retention Services. “She has been a tremendous resource for Megan this year. They check in regularly so Sarah can answer questions and provide support.”
With COVID-19 safety precautions in place, Casey and Megan have been meeting over Zoom and texting regularly to stay in touch. Casey works to help her mentee feel comfortable in a new environment as she adjusts to college life.
“Sarah serves not just as a mentor, but as a leader for other mentors in our program,” said Blackburn. “She helped provide guidance to new mentors as they prepared to embark on their first mentor matches with the program. Sarah does a great job explaining what the mentor-mentee relationship is all about and how rewarding it can be to those that make the most of it.”
About the Program: The CEAT Peer Mentor Program involves upper-level CEAT men and women mentoring incoming freshmen CEAT students as they get acclimated to the college environment.
Architecture Mentoring Program, Oklahoma State University
Mentee: Britney Dunlap
Years Matched: One
Scott Cornelius is a fifth-year architecture major at Oklahoma State University who has served as a mentor in several OSU programs during his time at the college. Cornelius and Britney Dunlap have been mentor-mentee matched since Britney participated in the Summer Bridge Program in 2019.
“Scott has a way of making everyone he works with feel comfortable,” Dunlap shared. “He finds the perfect balance between having fun and still being productive. I could not have asked for a better mentor, and a better boss in the Summer Bridge program when I joined as a counselor this year.”
Cornelius finds the best mentoring activity is just grabbing some dinner and going to Theta Pond on campus to sit and talk about what is going on in each other’s lives. He describes his mentorship of Dunlap as one that really came about informally and has turned into a rewarding match.
“In all of the mentoring programs he has participated in Scott listens to others, creatively engages everyone, and encourages all to commit and achieve their best,” shared Jordan Blackburn, coordinator of Student Retention Services. “While many students have one or two opportunities to mentor others when in college, we can honestly say that for Scott, it is a code of conduct he lives by.”
About the Program: The Architecture Mentoring Program is a seven-week program for all Architecture and Architectural Engineering freshmen, who are matched with upperclassmen mentors.
Link ONE Mentoring, One True Light Inc.
Mentee: Skylar, 9th Grade
Years Matched: Seven
Terry Dennard is a vice-president at Legacy Bank and has been a volunteer mentor with One True Light since 2014. Dennard and his mentee, Skylar, have been matched for seven years.
“Terry has been extremely consistent in his commitment to meet weekly with Skylar over the last seven years,” said One True Light administrative director Joan Brock. “Terry and Skylar love playing UNO and eating pizza, which Terry picks up on the way to their meetings each week. Terry is an amazing example to other mentors of what it takes to commit to a long-term mentoring relationship and to build trust over time.”
Dennard and Skylar enjoy talking about science, from physics to ecology, and love just hanging out and telling jokes. One of Dennard’s favorite memories is of a meeting where he got to watch Skylar design and build a kite to fly. Skylar chose to make his kite a pizza kite, which Dennard got to watch Skylar launch and fly with a look of pure joy on his face.
“When Skylar and I first started meeting we had very little common ground,” Dennard shared. “I learned that when there appears to be no common ground that if you look, work, and make a commitment to getting to know one another you can find that common ground and really enjoy the conversations with one another.”
About the Program: Link ONE Mentoring is the cornerstone project of One True Light, a nonprofit connecting local churches and concerned citizens to meet the needs of Duncan Public Schools’ students. Link ONE mentors volunteer once a week, providing support and encouragement, lending a listening ear, and helping students form a positive vision for their future. They may provide academic support or simply help to boost the child’s self-esteem by being a dependable positive adult role model.
Bridges of Norman, Inc.
Years Matched: Two
Shavonne Evans is a real estate agent with Keller Williams-Mullinix in Norman who serves as a mentor to recent Norman High School graduate Chynessey. The two were matched by Bridges when Chynessey was interested in doing a job shadow with a real estate agent. That initial meeting led to a formal mentoring match.
“Shavonne deserves to be honored for her open heart and her understanding of the positive impact of mentoring” said Bridges associate executive director Bianca Gordon. “Shavonne and Chynessey have become close, even bringing their families together for holidays. They are both mothers, and Shavonne has been able to share parenting insights with Chynessey as well.”
Evans and Chynessey are both busy mothers but have prioritized time to deepen their mentoring relationship and committed to learning more about each other and their families. Evans was there to cheer and congratulate Chynessey when she graduated from high school last year.
“Shavonne didn’t stop her efforts with hosting job shadows or mentoring. She has also donated dinners for Bridges’ life skills groups and agreed to talk with other students interested in real estate careers” said Gordon. “In her role as board chair for Norman Next, a young professionals organization, she has been willing to reach into her valuable network of business people to connect them with needs at Bridges.”
About the Program: Bridges is a nonprofit providing housing and support to homeless teens in Norman. Program mentors support Bridges students as they navigate through school and make important life decisions. The mentoring program pairs students and mentors based on common interests. Mentors commit to connecting at least once a week with students for lunch, dinner, an activity or a phone call.
STARBASE Oklahoma 2.0, Union 6th and 7th Grade Center, Tulsa
Mentee(s): Union Club
Garrett Ewell is a quality engineer with The Nordam Group. He has been a mentor with STARBASE 2.0 since 2012.
“Garrett has a way of making middle school students feel comfortable in their own skin,” said David Stacey, deputy director of STARBASE OK. “He never fails in making each and every student feel needed and special. Garrett has worked to emphasize to our students that it is okay as a scientist or engineer to fail and keep working at something multiple times before you succeed, a great life lesson.”
Ewell is always eager and enthusiastic when starting new STEM projects with club members. He loves working with kids on how to break down problems and use precise steps to work through them.
“Garrett is the guy that goes above and beyond and makes sure everyone is always taken care of before and after each club meeting,” shared Stacey. Ewell shares, “Mentoring requires you to adapt to what each individual person’s needs are in order to help them succeed. Having the ability to help impact a student’s life in a positive way, it feels really good when you are able to win at that!”
About this Program: STARBASE 2.0 combines STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities with a relationship-rich, school-based environment serving at-risk youth in fifth through eighth grades. The program uses a team mentoring approach, pairing teams of three to four students with one adult mentor for four hours each month.
Beaver Duster Mentoring Program
Years Matched: Six
Olene Hale is a retired community volunteer and has been a dedicated mentor to Phoebe for the past six years.
“When Olene first started mentoring with our program, she thought she wanted to be matched with an older elementary age child,” said Linda Downing, coordinator of the Beaver Duster Mentoring Program. “But Phoebe was a first grader who really needed a mentor. Olene agreed to give it a whirl, and it has been a delight to observe. Their relationship today is as close as any grandparent and grandchild.”
Hale and Phoebe love spending time together, especially doing crafts. Hale and Phoebe also spend time together outside the regular program, attending church together and baking cookies at home.
Phoebe shared, “it means a lot to me that we have done so many amazing things together. From going to see movies to going camping with Olene in Missouri. Just being with her for the past six years has made a huge difference to me. I love her to death and never want to let her go.” Hale replied, “The love of a child is priceless. We truly love one another and are really good friends.”
About the Program: Beaver Duster Mentoring Program, launched in October 2014, matches community volunteer mentors and high school student peer mentors with elementary students. Among various activities, the mentor-mentee matches play board and physical games and do crafts. Some mentors also volunteer for additional reading with students, and some mentor high school students.
Thunderbird Challenge Program
Years Matched: Two
Royden Heginbotham initially answered the call to mentor cadet Ashton during the residential phase of his time at Thunderbird Youth Academy. The match was a great success, and Heginbotham ended up staying on as Ashton’s mentor through the entire two-year program.
“Ashton was always so excited to see Mr. Heginbotham” said Thunderbird Challenge Program case manager Wendi Spurlock. “Though Royden lives in Big Cabin and Ashton lives in Enid, a long way to travel, the two built a trusting relationship.”
Heginbotham and Ashton went fishing and to see classic cars on some of their visits. Heginbotham was able to step in to buy Ashton a bicycle and help him get a job when he fell on hard times and needed extra support. Ashton grew to trust Mr. Heginbotham and to take his advice.
“Mr. Heginbotham showed that there are still people out there that want to help make a difference in the lives of youth” said Spurlock. “This is why we do what we do, stepping up to help our youth and showing we are there to support them. Royden is a shining example of that in action.”
About the Program: Thunderbird Youth Academy’s mission is to intervene in the lives of Oklahoma high school dropouts to effect positive change in those youth. The program challenges students physically, emotionally and educationally; teaches respect for self, others and community; and helps students meet educational goals through GED, high school credits, life-skills training and college courses.
House of Healing, Equine Experience
Years Matched: One
Kathy Hill is a sign language interpreter with Putnam City Schools. She and mentee Sarah have been matched for a year.
“Kathy has strong Christian values and cares deeply for those she mentors, she is very dedicated,” shared Kathy Boeckman, CEO of House of Healing. “Kathy gives countless hours making sure she is available when her mentee needs her.”
Hill and Sarah enjoy spending time together at the House of Healing property and interacting with their favorite horses. The two have built a strong bond of trust during their time together, and Sarah has experienced growth in her self-confidence.
“In addition to her mentoring commitment, Kathy is also a member of our Board of Directors,” shared Boeckman. “She makes an impact on our programs with her decision making, strategic planning and her financial support.”
About the Program: House of Healing serves teen girls age 13-17. The Authentic Girl Mentoring program and Equine Experience program work hand in hand to accomplish key goals: empowering teenage girls through better coping and conflict resolution skills, teaching girls to make better life choices and restore self-esteem, build self-assurance and values they need to overcome a negative social environment and provide tools that assist in their emotional healing. The Equine Experience also teaches girls about proper physical and mental horse care and horse anatomy. The experience is a powerful hands-on tool for girls to build confidence, develop good communication skills and overcome their fears.
Whiz Kids Oklahoma
Mentee: That That
Years matched: One
Jolene Ingram is a retired community volunteer who began as a tutor at the Whiz Kids site ten years ago. Ingram and her mentee, That That, have pivoted to online mentoring this year to keep their mentoring relationship strong and stay safe during the pandemic.
“Jolene is loyal, kind, intelligent, articulate, loving, wise and fun. She has supported Whiz Kids and her mentees financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually during her time with our organization,” shared Amy Bruce, operations manager for Whiz Kids. “Jolene is always ready, always available and always on time for her mentee or any student at our site that needs her as a sub.”
Ingram has limited mobility due to injuries from an auto accident when she was a child. Her mentee, That That, also lives with a disability which has allowed Ingram to really empathize and connect with her. Ingram has a special way of connecting with students who have struggles and need extra confidence and love.
“Jolene has made every one of her mentees over the years feel special and loved and continues to connect with them as they grow up,” Bruce shared.
About the Program: For 22 years, Whiz Kids has been working with at-risk kids in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area to improve reading skills and comprehension and to foster mentoring relationships with caring adults. Whiz Kids sites are churches in each school’s community that donate their facility and provide tutors and an on-site coordinator.
JCPenney Leadership Program, Price College of Business, University of Oklahoma
Mentees: Sophomore and Junior students in the Price College of Business
Mallory Lambert is a senior at the University of Oklahoma. She is majoring in international business & accounting at the Price College of Business and serves as the Director of Peer Trainers for the JCPenney Leadership Program.
“Mallory has done a fantastic job in her role as director of Peer Trainers generally, but given the unique circumstances of the current pandemic her efforts to mentor and lead a team of mentors has been nothing less than extraordinary,” shared Breea Clark, director of the JCPenney Leadership Program. “Mallory’s ability to be innovative in developing new ways to mentor in a pandemic and be flexible in her delivery of instruction has set our program’s bar for professionalism and leadership.”
Though some of Lambert’s favorite mentor-mentee activities were unable to occur this year due to COVID-19 safety, she really enjoyed the annual leadership retreat and brainstorming sessions that allowed her and her team to plan the mentoring program for the year. Lambert helped pivot some of the normal program activities to virtual ones.
Clark shared, “Mallory has exceeded all expectations in her leadership as our Director of Peer Trainers. Our program and its newest members have benefitted from her dedicated mentorship.”
About the Program: The JCPenney Leadership Center has several programs focused toward developing organic and natural mentoring relationships. Among them, the Peer Training Program offers a student-designed and led curriculum focused on seven foundational leadership and professional development programs.
Volunteers for Youth, Claremore
Years Matched: Two
John Lingenfelter is a retired businessman and community volunteer. He and Devan have been matched for two years, meeting weekly.
“John has shown outstanding commitment to his mentee,” shared program director Roxanne Bilby. “Once he became invested in Devan’s life, there was no turning back. John has followed Devan as he transitioned between schools and has advocated for Devan within the school system, to the mentoring program team, and to Devan’s family.”
Lingenfelter and Devan love to do woodworking projects together. Lingenfelter has created and funded these projects entirely on his own. He and Devan decide what Devan would like to build and they make it happen. They worked together to create a special Christmas gift for Devan’s mom.
“What is unique about this match is the lack of common experiences or interests between John and Devan, yet they absolutely love spending time together,” shared Bilby. “Devan appreciates John showing up week after week and believing in him.”
About the Program: Founded in 1998, Volunteers for Youth offers programs to positively impact the lives of youth in Rogers County. Its traditional PAL mentors meet their mentees an hour a week in person.
CEAT Scholars Mentor Program, Oklahoma State University
Mentee: Madison Eulberg
Olivia Long is an Oklahoma State University senior majoring in electrical engineering. She mentors three freshman engineering students during the fall 2020 semester.
“Olivia is a perfect example of what great peer mentoring looks like for our freshman students,” said Jordan Blackburn, coordinator of Student Retention Services. “As a personable and respectful leader, she has been able to have conversations that might take years for faculty and staff to have. The CEAT Scholar experience is greatly enhanced by caring and supportive mentors like Olivia.”
Long has found some of the best mentor-mentee activities involve just doing things around campus. Trying a new coffee drink at the Student Union, enjoying the breeze on a hot day at Theta Pond, or hiking to the northern portions of campus for dinner allow her to get to know her mentees and for them to get to know the campus at the same time.
COVID-19 has made it difficult for students looking to make social connections this semester. Long shared, “One of the greatest things to come from my relationship between my mentees and me is that I am able to provide an example of how that supportive peer connection is supposed to feel, and I hope our friendship encourages my mentees to continue to build their own support group.”
About the Program: Each year, OSU’s College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology selects top incoming students to become a part of the CEAT Scholars Program, providing participants with professional development, community service, industrial explorations, international experiences, and cultural experiences. The Scholars Mentorship Program pairs together CEAT Scholar upperclassmen with CEAT Scholars in the freshman class to provide advice and academic support.
Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, Cameron University, Lawton
Mentee: Theresa Hinkle
Years Matched: Two
Elizabeth Nalley is a professor of Chemistry at Cameron University. She and mentee Theresa Hinkle, a Cameron senior, have been matched for two years.
“Dr. Nalley has been a tireless advocate for underrepresented students in STEM,” shared director Brenda Morales. “She has mentored over 100 undergraduates by providing them experience through chemistry research. Dr. Nalley’s mentorship has allowed students to gain valuable research experience that has led them to a successful completion of their undergraduate careers as well as pursuit of masters and doctorate degrees.”
In addition to working with students in their research, Dr. Nalley loves helping students prepare to present their research at scientific conferences. Theresa Hinkle shared, “Dr. Nalley worked with me on being a better and more knowledgeable presenter so that now I present my research at many national and international conferences.”
“Dr. Nalley has been there for me, offering me personal counsel and support during a hard time in my life,” shared Hinkle. “To be honest, before Dr. Nalley’s help I questioned if I would even finish college. Now I’m graduating this December with not one but two degrees and have no doubt I’ll be competitive for any doctoral program.”
About the Program: Through the Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, underrepresented college students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are paired with faculty mentors to learn research skills. Each campus in the Oklahoma Alliance has a campus coordinator who adds extra mentoring to the students in the program.
INTEGRIS Heath Positive Directions Mentoring Program
Years Matched: Three
Nancy Nathaniel is a retired community volunteer who has been mentoring with the INTEGRIS Health Positive Directions Program for 22 years. She and her mentee Jade have been matched for three years.
“Nancy’s dedication to mentoring is inspiring,” shared Kathy Lowder, mentor program coordinator. “She loves watching children grasp a new concept and helping them learn. During her time with our program she has always found a way to forge a special bond with her mentee, making special effort not to miss a birthday or special moment.”
Nathaniel saw early in her visits with Jade that she was struggling with her English. Though Nathaniel is not bilingual she worked one-on-one each week to help improve Jade’s skills in English. Jade’s teacher noted her progress in working with Nathaniel. Nathaniel and Jade also love competing in foosball.
“Nancy answered a call to be a volunteer mentor over twenty years ago at the beginning of our program,” shared Lowder. “In addition to her own loyal service, Nancy recruited her husband and many others in her circle to become mentors and impact kids. We are thankful for her!”
About the Program: INTEGRIS Health began the Positive Directions Mentoring Program in 1992 as a business/school partnership that encourages volunteers to mentor one hour each week at targeted elementary schools. The objectives of the program are to build self-esteem, establish positive relationships, help children overcome negative behaviors and improve the student’s classroom participation.
Believe In Some One Now (B.I.S.O.N.) Mentoring Program, Leedey Public Schools
Years Matched: Four
Connie Quattlebaum is a retired community volunteer who has been matched with mentee Mya for four years through the B.I.S.O.N. program.
“Mrs. Quattlebaum has been a great influence on Mya,” shared Tammi Goodall. “She encourages and supports Mya in her school activities and family life and has helped financially by sponsoring some of Mya’s school extra-curricular activities. Mya has blossomed into a very confident young lady.”
Quattlebaum and Mya enjoy working on projects with one another, from creating special snacks, crafts and Valentines’ gifts to finishing a quilting project. The pair were able to take a special birthday shopping trip with lunch to celebrate Mya’s birthday. They love spending one-on-one time together.
“Mrs. Quattlebaum is a big supporter of our mentoring program and all school activities. Her support and involvement have helped not just Mya, but our entire program to grow and improve,” shared Goodall.
About the Program: B.I.S.O.N. Mentors is a school-based program that serves pre-K through 12th grade students in Leedey, a small community of 435 residents. Leedey Superintendent Rusty Puffinbarger and Mentor Coordinator Kris Gore started the program and, with the help of six board members, rallied the support of their town. In a short time, the program has had a great impact on the school’s entire student body.
CEAT Summer Bridge Program, Oklahoma State University
Mentee: Aaron Corona
Years Matched: Four
Brooke Ryan is a fifth-year architecture student at Oklahoma State University. She and mentee Aaron Corona have been matched for four years.
“Brooke cares deeply about mentoring freshman students, and they gain so much from their interaction with her as a head counselor in the CEAT Summer Bridge Program,” said Jordan Blackburn, coordinator of Student Retention Services. “Brooke knows the importance of making sure incoming freshmen feel like they have someone to talk to if they have any questions as they transition into college life. Brooke has been a superb example of what a counselor and mentor should be.”
Ryan started mentoring Aaron Corona when he was a freshman participant in the program. Aaron has since become a counselor himself and a partner in helping Ryan run the program. Ryan shared, “Aaron is very passionate about mentoring and the CEAT program and loves to share that with younger students, just like I did with him.”
“Mentoring is important to show others that they aren’t the first to go through something and they are not alone. Having someone to talk to, learn from, and get advice from is important for everyone to have,” said Ryan.
About the Program: The Summer Bridge program helps introduce incoming freshmen to the courses, people and activities of OSU’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. The two-and-a-half-week program includes mini-courses in pre-calculus, physics and tech writing, as well as design projects and team building. The program is led by 11 counselors, with each assigned a small group of five to six students to oversee. In addition, the counselors assist with class attendance, design projects, group activities and study hall.
Chevron Phillips Scholar-Mentor Program, University of Oklahoma
Mentees: Chemical, Biological & Materials Engineering students
Taylor Thacker is a senior at the University of Oklahoma majoring in Chemical, Biological & Materials Engineering. She mentors sophomore students in the Chevron Phillips Scholar-Mentor Program, and has been a program mentor for the last year and a half.
“Taylor demonstrates leadership, thinks outside the box to make our program better and volunteers above and beyond what is required to ensure nothing is left undone,” shared Undergraduate Program Coordinator Madena McGinnis. “Her determination to connect with mentees on a personal level helps them feel a sense of belonging in our program.”
Thacker enjoys many activities with program mentees; competing at game nights, relaxing with pizza and movies, bowling and making ice cream with liquid nitrogen are just a few of the many fun ways she connects with mentees.
“I benefitted from the help of the mentors during my sophomore year as a chemical engineering student,” Thacker shared. “I want to continue to provide the same kind of assistance and encouragement to other students. I enjoy teaching and tutoring and delight in helping others succeed and overcome difficulties through hard work and perseverance. I love seeing students grow throughout the semester and witnessing their hard work pay off.”
About the Program: The Chevron Phillips Scholar-Mentor Program is a peer mentoring and tutoring program that matches upperclassmen with sophomore chemical engineering students. Mentors provide social, academic and career support to help younger students be successful.
Parker Engineering, Architecture and Technology Experts, Oklahoma State University
Mentee: Adonis Gardner
Patrick Williams is a junior at Oklahoma State University, majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering. He and mentee Adonis Gardner, a freshman, have been matched this fall.
“Patrick goes above and beyond in his role with PEATEs, mentoring not just Adonis but all 14 students living on his floor,” shared Jordan Blackburn, coordinator of Student Retention Services. “All of his mentees know him, and they know he genuinely cares about helping them find their path and navigate this special time in their lives.”
Williams and Adonis spend time working on homework, hanging out and talking, and sharing about how things are going in life and in school. Williams loves to set up game nights and other small events that help all of his mentees connect with one another.
“I base how I mentor on what I lacked as a freshman, or what some of my biggest struggles have been in college,” Williams shared. “I love providing extra encouragement and resources that can help mentees relax and feel successful. It might be simple, but just talking with my mentees is probably the best thing we do.”
About the Program: The Parker Engineering, Architecture and Technology Experts are a group of students referred to simply as “PEATEs.” They are upperclassmen and women who live in Parker Residence Hall and serve as examples, mentors and experts in how to succeed as an OSU CEAT student. They help students locate and utilize available resources, transition to OSU and the challenging majors in CEAT, and get involved on campus and in the college.
Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center
Mentees: Residents of the Center
Bryan and Ida Mae Wheeler are retired community volunteers. They have been providing mentoring support to the Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center for more than two decades through the Kairos Torch program and as individuals.
“As mentors, Bryan and Ida Mae have steadfastly and continuously served the youth through weekly individual mentoring sessions and monthly group mentoring meetings,” shared Volunteer Services Specialist Kelli Mahanay. “Were it not for their continued dedication over the last twenty years, more than a thousand youth would not have been provided a spiritual foundation upon which to build a new and productive life. They even stepped in during the pandemic to provide video church services to our youth when they were not able to attend in person.”
During weekly mentoring sessions, the young men being mentored were able to play board games and dominoes with Bryan and Ida Mae. Constructive and meaningful conversations took place during this time and the young men were able to share their worries and concerns in a safe environment.
One program mentee shared, “Bryan and Ida Mae had a positive influence on me. They gave me a positive direction and taught me how to correct my mistakes.” Another mentee shared, “The Wheelers taught me how to be happy and take responsibility for my own happiness.”
About the Program: The Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center is a medium-security state facility operated by the Office of Juvenile Affairs. The center houses 60 young men between the ages of 13-19 who have been adjudicated by the courts as juvenile delinquents or youthful offenders. Many young men at the center come from disadvantaged or chaotic homes and have had few if any positive male role models in their lives. Mentors can meet with the young men one night a week from 7-8 p.m. Many mentors come as individuals and some participate as groups, such as Kairos Prison Ministries and the Christian Motorcycle Association. In addition, church groups regularly volunteer to provide Sunday services and faith-based activities and offer support and encouragement to the young men at the facility.
Lowe Family Young Scholars Program
Years Matched: Four
Rachelle Wilson is a commercial banker at Arvest Bank in Bartlesville. She and mentee Samantha have been matched for four years.
“Rachelle is such a supportive friend and mentor to Sam,” said Michael Secora. “She works to be a support system to Sam and to help her find success in academics and in life. I have been so impressed with their relationship, it goes above and beyond. They really love spending time together.”
Wilson and Samantha love hiking, cooking and working together on community gardening projects. They have dedicated many hours to creating beauty in their community through gardening and also love just having time to be together and talk.
“I have gained so much wisdom on so many topics during my time with Rachelle, from plants and politics to respect and jobs,” Sam shared. “She is always there for me and gives me nothing but encouragement even when I am struggling. Rachelle has really boosted how I see and present myself.”
About the Program: The Lowe Family Young Scholars Program is based in Bartlesville, and provides academic-focused, community-based mentoring to students in grades six through 12.