Wednesday Walking PALs, Volunteers for Youth, Claremore
Mendy Stone, former executive director of Volunteers for Youth in Claremore, is being recognized as the outstanding mentor for Wednesday Walking PALs and as a champion for mentoring in Rogers County.
Stone, who led Volunteers for Youth for its first 19 years, now serves as a part-time community liaison for the agency and is one of its most active volunteers, personally mentoring 27 students in the agency’s various programs. Mentoring Project Director Celina Davis, who described Stone as a “Mentoring Wonder Woman,” said that Stone has been a driving force for the past 20 years behind the growth and changes in Volunteers for Youth mentoring programs. The agency’s programs include PAL, traditional weekly mentoring; e-PAL, email mentoring with monthly face-to-face visits; TutorPALs, tutoring-specific mentoring, BLAST, an after-school group mentoring for middle-schoolers; U-Turn, a program to help suspended students stay caught up in school; and Step Up, a graduated sanctions program.
“As she transitioned to her role as part-time community liaison, Mendy identified another avenue for our children to be mentored plus stay healthy, creating Wednesday Walking PALs,” Davis said. Through the program, students from two elementary school gather with mentors for short walks while engaging in discussion points on health, wellness and making healthy choices.
“Not only did she plan the project, recruit and organize the mentors, secure banners, safety vest & supplies, but Mendy even orchestrated a Celebrity Walk that included members of law enforcement, city government officials, school superintendent, fire fighters, and other prominent citizens for National Walk to School Day,” Davis said.
Stone has been recognized as a state and national leader in mentoring, but her greatest source of fulfillment is the time she spends with her mentees as a PAL and e-PAL mentor and as the leader of Wednesday Walking Pals, Davis added. “Mendy is the obvious choice for our Wednesday Walking PALs Mentor of the Year.”
About the Program: Wednesday Walking PALs pairs elementary students with mentors for 1/3 to ½-mile walks on safe sidewalks, engaging in discussion points on topics such as nutrition, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use, and other health topics.