Kelly Pensoneau, president of Lincoln Lending in Norman, has always had a heart for helping people in need. Prior to starting his own mortgage loan business, he served many years as a caseworker for the Department of Human Services, Child Support Enforcement and SoonerCare.
Earlier this year, Pensoneau stepped up to help once again – this time as a volunteer for Bridges of Norman, a nonprofit that provides housing and services for homeless teens. He was matched with A.J. a recent high school grad and Bridges resident.
“Kelly jumped right in, showing up for A.J. at events and spending quality time with him,” said Bianca Gordon, director of career coaching for Bridges. “They like to go out to eat, barbecue, and talk about sports and video games.
‘Kelly is a good listener and has selflessly performed beyond normal Bridges mentoring, which typically involves job and education advising” Gordon added. “Kelly and A.J. also talked about car maintenance, healthy relationships and financial management. They both naturally care about helping others.”
Pensoneau has helped A.J. prepare for the transition from Bridges to living independently as an adult. A.J. describes Pensoneau as “cool” and as someone who makes him feel like he’s part of his family. Pensoneau and his wife Sara have two biological sons and three adopted children.
Despite being busy with his business and family life, Pensoneau said he believes it’s important to carve out time to help others.
“I believe mentoring is a great way to help kids who may not have a positive role model in their lives,” Pensoneau said. “I want to take everyone under my wing and help them, but I can only do so much. If everyone who was able to help would step up, then those in need could be cared for.
“I realize that I don’t have all the answers,” he added. “Sometimes, I just need to lend an ear and be available. I am just trying to do my part.”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.