Thunderbird Challenge Program, Thunderbird Youth Academy, Pryor
Lauren Dewey is called “grandma” by the cadets and her mentees at Thunderbird Youth Academy – a testimony to the safe and loving bond she forges with these young people.
Dewey, a Tulsa resident who works at Ritchie Appraisals, has mentored over a dozen cadets at the academy over the years. She and her current mentee, Mercedes, have been matched since 2013.
According to TyAna Whiteis, a recruiter for the academy, Dewey continually steps up and helps cadets when needed and freely offers her advice and counsel to other mentors.
Whiteis notes that Dewey continues to be friends with the very first cadet she mentored, which shows the strong connection and deep affection she makes with her mentees.
Dewey says she gets back as much as she gives through her role as a mentor, including new friendships and a better understanding and acceptance of people from different circumstances.
About the Program: Thunderbird Youth Academy’s mission is to intervene in the lives of Oklahoma high school dropouts to effect positive change in those youth. The program challenges students physically, emotionally and educationally; teaches respect for self, others and community; and helps students meet educational goals through GED, high school credits, life-skills training and college courses.