|Jason Couch (center), a volunteer for Volunteers for Youth PAL Project of Claremore, receives an Outstanding Mentor Award from Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Chairman David L. Boren (left) and President Anil Gollahalli (right) during Oklahoma Mentor Day at the Capitol. They are joined by Couch’s mentees, Kenton (second from left) and Hunter. (Photo by Travis Caperton, Oklahoma State Capitol)|
PAL Project, Volunteers for Youth
Volunteers for Youth in Claremore has named Jason Couch as its PAL Project outstanding mentor for Oklahoma Mentor Day.
The PAL Project is a school-based mentoring program that matches Rogers County public school students with caring adult mentors. The mentor strives to be the student’s friend, role model, motivator and personal advocate.
Jason, a junior at Rogers State University, has been a PAL Project mentor for three years, but became passionate about mentoring at a younger age, said project coordinator Celina Davis. Before becoming a mentor for Volunteers for Youth, he both worked and mentored with another mentoring organization while still in high school.
“Jason has been a catalyst for change in the lives of students at Volunteers for Youth,” Celina said. “He will be the first college student to mentor for our program throughout the entire duration of his college career.”
During those three years, Jason has mentored two students, Kenton, now a high school senior, and Hunter, a sixth-grader.
“Jason hopes to help his mentees be successful and coaches them to have a plan for their lives,” Celina said. “After being mentored by Jason, Kenton is now excited that he has a plan for his future, graduating high school and then attending Tech school.”
She said Hunter is also setting goals: stay in class and out of the principal’s office. “Jason is there for him every week, no matter if he needs to talk about what’s going on in his life or to just play games with him and have fun,” Celina said.
Jason is not only an outstanding mentor, but he is an active supporter of Volunteers for Youth. In this school year alone, he has recruited eight other college students to serve as mentors.