Bab Coker

Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence
Oklahoma Mentor Day


Bab Coker (center), a volunteer with B.E.A.R.S Mentoring Program of Cheyenne, receives an Outstanding Mentor Award from Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence President Craig Story (right) and foundation trustee and mentoring advocate Molly Boren (second from right.) Joining in the presentation are Mentor Day keynote speaker and author Alton Carter (left) and mentee Michelle Blacketter. Oklahoma Mentor Day, sponsored by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and its David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative, honors outstanding Oklahoma youth mentors and promotes the value of mentoring. (Photo by Travis Caperton)

Bab Coker

Building Esteem and Responsibility (B.E.A.R.S.), Cheyenne

Bab Coker has been honored as the outstanding mentor of the year for Cheyenne B.E.A.R.S., an acronym for “Building Esteem and Responsibility,” which serves students in the Cheyenne Public School system.

Bab has been matched with her mentee Michelle since the B.E.A.R.S. program began in 2015.

Bab and Michelle eat lunch together, work on homework and small projects and chat often to give Michelle an opportunity to talk about herself. Michelle’s mother works out-of-state and she lives with her grandmother so the one-on-one time she spends with Bab is important. Since the match, Michelle’s academic standing has improved.  

“It is difficult to put into words the special relationship between Mrs. Coker and Michelle- you just have to see them together to witness the real connection,” said Belinda Chalfant, Cheyenne Elementary School principal.

Coker, the Roger Mills’ County Treasurer, also volunteers with the Cheyenne Educational Foundation’s Life 101 program, which serves high school seniors. The program won the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence’s Local Education Foundation (LEF) outstanding program award in 2013. In this role, Bab explains the workings of the county courthouse and how high school seniors might interact with the county offices in the future.

“Mrs. Bab Coker is one of our pioneer mentors who have helped make the [B.E.A.R.S.] program a true success,” Chalfant said.