Erin Colwell

Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence
Oklahoma Mentor Day


Erin Colwell, (second from left), a volunteer with Bridges of Norman,  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 Bree Newman. 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)

Erin Colwell

Bridges, Norman

Bridges has selected Erin Colwell, an associate architect and sustainability coordinator for McKinney Partnership Architects in Norman, as its outstanding mentor of the year. Bridges assists high school students who live alone due to a family crisis, such as the death of a parent or parental incarceration or homelessness, by offering housing, community resources, assistance with school activities and college scholarships.


Kyle Moore, director of career coaching at Bridges, said Erin was selected due to her connection with her students and her willingness to go out of her way to assist those she works with.


“Erin has filled the gap for students and become one of the most positive and influential people in their lives,” Moore said.


An example of this was when Erin’s first student, who she has been with for two years, asked her to drop her off at college on move-in day. This is traditionally a role taken by one's parents. The student has since graduated from Bridges but continues to call Erin when she is in a crisis or needs someone to turn to for support.


In addition to mentoring students, Erin has encouraged friends to mentor, has taken part in fundraisers for the organization, and has volunteered her personal time to drive her students to school, work and doctors’ appointments.


“Erin is not only an outstanding mentor, but also an advocate for all the students of Bridges,” Moore added.