Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett Jr. and First Lady Victoria Ann BartlettMentoring to the Max, City of Tulsa
|Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. (second from left) and First Lady Victoria Bartlett receive Mentoring Champions awards from Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Chairman David L. Boren (left) and President Anil Gollahalli (right) during Oklahoma Mentor Day at the Capitol. The Bartletts were recognized for their Mentoring to the Max initiative and other mentoring advocacy efforts. (Photo by Travis Caperton, Oklahoma State Capitol)|
Since Dewey F. Bartlett Jr. took office in 2009 as mayor of Tulsa, he and his wife, Victoria Ann Bartlett, have wholeheartedly committed themselves to not only encourage Tulsa citizens to mentor young children, but also to lead by example.
The mayor’s Mentoring to the Max initiative is a communitywide public awareness campaign that seeks to attract caring adults to consistently be involved in children’s lives at Tulsa area schools. Mayor Bartlett is one of a handful of mayors in the nation to be recognized as a Mentoring Mayor by the National Mentoring Partnership.
The Bartletts want to ensure young people – in every age group – receive the attention and support they deserve from a positive role model involved in their lives, said Pam Listar, City of Tulsa communications officer.
“One of the greatest joys the Mayor and Victoria Bartlett cherish is being around young people and learning about their interests,” Listar said. “Whether they visit schools together, or speak at various civic events, they believe sharing their message to encourage children on a weekly basis will help strengthen our city and state’s economic and social well-being, while also helping youth achieve their full potential.”
Victoria Bartlett spearheads mentoring efforts in the Tulsa community. Since 2010, she has visited more than 25 Tulsa public schools, reading to children and assisting schools with special events and projects. From biking with students to City Hall, to judging art contests, to planting trees with children or taking on community projects to benefit citizens – each of these activities demonstrates her heart and efforts to help children succeed and receive opportunities not readily available to them. She also excels at pairing schools with organizations to support the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s Partnership in Education program.
In May 2014, she helped forge a partnership between Emerson Elementary and the City of Tulsa. Emerson students are learning from city employees about civil service as a viable and rewarding career choice in the future. Last year Victoria Bartlett nurtured a partnership between Newfield Energy and Park Elementary’s Reading Partners Program.
Mayor Bartlett saw a need for Pathways to Prosperity, which came about through his weekly talks with business owners who said Tulsa didn’t have enough trained and qualified workers to fill jobs. He approached aerospace, vocational and higher education leaders about creating a pathway to prosperity for high school students to easily transition into the workplace and help supplement the needs in the business community.
With the support of Tulsa Tech and Tulsa Public Schools, the first-ever Aerospace Academy was launched Aug. 17, 2015 at Tulsa Tech/R.L. Jones Airport. When high school students complete this program, they will not only receive a high school diploma and training from the Aerospace Academy, but they can attend Tulsa Community College through the Tulsa Achieves program and receive an associate’s degree in a technical discipline, all for free.
Mayor Bartlett is dedicated to offering students who may not follow a college pathway with more options for good-paying jobs to help close the workforce gap to meet our manufacturing needs. The City of Tulsa’s Learning with a Wrench program provides internships for Union High School students to learn how to be a vehicle and heavy-equipment mechanic, while helping them with future career and education decisions.
Following the 2012 Good Friday shootings in Tulsa, Mayor Bartlett and Mrs. Bartlett, along with Tulsa area pastors and the faith-based community initiated a pilot program – Bridges of Faith for One Tulsa. The purpose of the program is to help engage Tulsa’s at-risk youth in positive summertime activities. Now in its third year, Bridges of Faith continues helping youth develop life skills through basketball and is changing students’ lives.
Mayor Bartlett and Victoria Bartlett embody the spirit of Mentoring to the Max. When asked why our city and state should make mentoring a priority, Mayor Bartlett said, “We need to enhance every child’s opportunity to learn and to give them positive, fun experiences so they stay safe and grounded. Young people need a solid foundation of support in school to help them become well-educated, confident and productive citizens who will stay in Tulsa and help continue making our city great.”
Victoria Bartlett said there is one thing all children have at birth; a capacity to learn. “With the proper attention, nutrition and environmental stimulation, children can reach their full growth potential,” she said. “A mentor’s work is important to both the individual child and the economic well-being of Tulsa. By working together, we can help a child bloom where planted and help them sow the seeds to economic prosperity for our city.”