Rod Sanders, a public safety officer at the University of Oklahoma, has been honored by Bridges of Norman as their outstanding mentor for going above and beyond as a volunteer.
Sanders has been matched to mentee Keyante Johnson, 18, for nearly two years. In addition to attending Keyante’s basketball games, Sanders and his wife, Megan, have made room in their lives for Keyante, so much so they call him their “bonus son.” They’ve taken him on college visits, helped him move into his dorm room and given him moral support, all while being active parents to five children they’ve adopted over the years.
“Rod Sanders is the perfect example of an outstanding mentor,” said Stacy Bruce, executive director of Bridges. “Most of us have heard about or even observed the positive outcomes of mentoring. The study of Oklahoma Youth Mentoring Programs suggests that just over half of those attending high school and 75 percent of those in college or career tech who are paired with mentors think their mentoring experience has successfully guided their healthy behaviors, general education and education support. However, there’s nothing in the research about the outcome of a mentee eventually calling his mentor ‘Dad.’”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.