Northern Oklahoma Academic Tutoring Foundation, Ponca City
Christian Rockwell of Ponca City has mentored and tutored youngsters for the past four years through the Northern Oklahoma Academic Tutoring Foundation and has volunteered as an after-school tutor and as a mentor in the “Jumpstart” Math, Science and Character Camp.
For four years, Rockwell taught the Reader’s Theatre rotation at camp, in which he and other volunteers perform in skits modeling 10 character traits. At the close of the rotation, the student group performs the character skit themselves. Rockwell is the only member of the original group to continue this innovative program.
Rockwell says that while he often spends time one-on-one with kids helping with math or reading, he loves the character education component of the program.
“My favorite activity I have shared is the character traits because you can have all the math knowledge and be able to read every word in the world, but if you don’t have character and self-control, you can’t be as successful.”
Rockwell has enjoyed seeing kids who were once shy and fearful gain confidence as they perform skits before their peers. He’s also seen them grow in their math, reading and creative skills.
Program Director Renee Speers said Rockwell not only teaches the character traits, but he displays them every day of his life. In addition to tutoring, Rockwell volunteers Saturdays to mentor students in work projects at the New Life Trails Ministry Association. He is an intern for House FM, a Christian radio station and is pursuing a Biblical counseling degree from Calvary Bible College. In addition, he is a volunteer coach for a homeschool junior high boys’ basketball team – the same team he played for as a youth.
Rockwell said one of his greatest joys working with the Jumpstart Camp is seeing the deep relationships that form between mentors and campers. “The kids see you as someone who truly loves them and wants to see them grow, and that helps them have the confidence to not only tackle math or reading, but life and bullies and other fears.”
About the program: Northern Oklahoma Academic Tutoring Foundation is a partnership of four churches that assist students at three elementary schools with math and language arts. Students are assigned by the individual school staffs, and parents are involved with approval and transportation from the church facility. Students are transported from the school to the church facility, provided a healthy snack, and work with their assigned tutor for approximately one hour either one or two days per week.