e-PAL, Volunteers for Youth, Claremore
Leveda Charles, a longtime volunteer and now recruitment and retention specialist for the PAL Program at Volunteers for Youth, is being honored as a Champion for Mentoring in recognition of her exemplary work supporting e-PAL mentoring in Rogers County.
Charles, who has been an e-Pal mentor for many years, was instrumental in developing and implementing a new e-PAL project that pairs community business leaders with high school business and marketing students for email-based mentoring. Charles created writing prompts for the project while working closely with the teacher to follow the weekly lesson plans, trouble-shooting technology issues, and monitoring the writings of both students and mentors weekly for an entire semester.
“This was a huge project that she masterfully managed,” said Pal Mentoring Project Director Celina Davis “There were 22 mentees impacted by Leveda due to this program. This new addition was due completely to her hard work and dedication.”
Participating students said that not only did they learn so much more by connecting with an actual community business person, but their favorite part of the connection was the face-to-face meetings once a month that allowed them to ask questions or discuss ideas directly with their mentors.
Davis praised Charles for going above and beyond expectations to make the project a success. “This extra work over a mere 12-month period propelled the PAL and e-PAL Mentoring Program to new heights, exceeding all expectations for number and quality of mentoring matches,” Davis said.
Charles managed to accomplish this feat while attending to the needs of her elderly mother, a son battling a terminal illness and three high school and college-aged grand-daughters. Charles often worked nights and weekends to ensure that the job was done.
“Leveda has been a tireless volunteer and advocate before she took on the staff position for Volunteers for Youth,” Davis said. “She understands the importance of investing into these kids’ lives at critical times and helping them see their potential - long before they can see it for themselves.”
About the Program: Founded in 1998, Volunteers for Youth offers programs to positively impact the lives of youth in Rogers County. While its traditional PAL mentors meet their mentees an hour a week, e-Pal mentors correspond with their mentee through weekly email and meet in person once a month. The e-Pal program format includes writing prompts aimed at achieving certain goals, such as dropout prevention.