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Aug. 10, 2018 - More than 800 Coaches Endorse Coaches Mentoring Challenge

by OFE | 2018-08-10 17:16:30


More than 800 Oklahoma coaches from 238 communities teamed up with mentoring organizations across the state to participate in the fourth annual Oklahoma Coaches Mentoring Challenge, a campaign to encourage Oklahomans to mentor young people in their communities.

The 2017-18 campaign was spearheaded by OSU Coach Mike Gundy and OU Coach Lincoln Riley in collaboration with state mentoring organizations and the Boren Mentoring Initiative, a program of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. During the campaign coaches from public and private elementary and secondary schools, as well as many colleges and universities in Oklahoma stepped up to endorse mentoring. Coaches can sign up and prospective mentors can learn about volunteer opportunities on the campaign website at www.okcoacheschallenge.org.

“As natural and group mentors, coaches know firsthand the impact that a mentor can have on the academic, social, emotional and economic futures of our young people,” said Beverly Woodrome, director of the Boren Mentoring Initiative, which helped coordinate the statewide mentoring campaign. “Coaches consistently tell me they see students who are not involved in sports or organized school activities who would benefit from a mentor. By endorsing the Coaches Mentoring Challenge, they are sending a message that they value mentoring and see a critical need for more volunteers to spend an hour a week mentoring young people in their communities.”

The Coaches Mentoring Challenge began in 2008 as a friendly competition between mentoring advocates Coach Tom Osborne of the University of Nebraska and Coach Bill Snyder at Kansas State University. Since then, many coaches from universities, colleges and secondary schools around the country have signed up to endorse mentoring.

According to MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership, it is estimated that one in three young people is in need of a mentor – someone to listen, to encourage and to set a positive example. One of the greatest challenges facing mentoring programs in Oklahoma is the shortage of volunteers, Woodrome said. Mentors are needed to serve young people from Pre-K through young adults in college and career tech.

“The Coaches Mentoring Challenge has helped raise awareness about the need for more mentors across the state and has even generated some interest in starting new mentoring programs,” Woodrome said. “We are grateful to the many coaches and mentoring organizations that have stepped up to support this effort.”

The Boren Mentoring Initiative is a program of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a statewide nonprofit that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in public schools. The mentoring initiative, named for foundation founder and chairman David L. Boren and his wife, Molly, grew out of Boren’s own commitment to mentoring and the proven impact it can have on a student’s success in and out of the classroom. The initiative was launched in 2006 to promote the growth and development of quality youth mentoring programs statewide.

The initiative has created a directory of more than 170 mentoring organizations statewide and works with those organizations to recruit volunteers, offer resources and promote mentoring best practices. The initiative invites all Oklahoma mentoring programs to participate free of charge. The program also provides free consulting and resources for groups seeking to create new mentoring programs and hosts Oklahoma Mentor Day, an annual event honoring outstanding mentors.

“We are happy to meet with schools, churches, businesses and others interested in starting a mentoring program in their community,” Woodrome said. “Through a statewide survey of mentoring organizations, we found that the most positive program outcomes were improved academic performance, positive mentor-mentee relationships, improved behavior, increased self-esteem and greater enrichment opportunities for participating youth.”

For more information on the Coaches Mentoring Challenge, visit www.okcoacheschallenge.org or contact Woodrome at (405) 236-0006; bwoodrome@ofe.org.

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Click here to view Oklahoma coaches and others who have endorsed the mentoring challenge in 2017-18, listed alphabetically by the cities in which they coach.