Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center, Manitou
Mentees: Center Youth
Years Matched: Five
Jim Linker is a retired history teacher and principal, serving the Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center for 18 years. Since his retirement in 2014, Linker has continued to serve as a youth mentor for the center.
“Mr. Linker is a positive role model for our youth,” shared Program director Melissa Monson. “He has a deep understanding of the unique spiritual, academic and emotional needs of the youth placed in the Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center. His passion is evident in helping youth build a spiritual foundation on which they can build healthy relationships.”
Linker’s dedication and passion have contributed to the success of the mentoring program at the center. Mentees describe Linker as a good listener, teacher and role model who understands their problems.
“Mr. Linker really listens to the needs of our center youth and offers support and encouragement,” said Monson. “His extensive military background has helped to instill guidance and structure to his mentees. For twenty-three years, Mr. Linker has demonstrated compassion in helping disadvantaged youth and making a difference in changing their lives.”
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 little 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.