Aug. 1, 2017 - Coaches Mentoring Challenge Launches Fourth Year of Recruiting Mentors
by OFE | 2017-08-02 14:18:48
Hundreds of coaches and mentoring organizations across the state are teaming up to participate in the fourth annual Oklahoma Coaches Mentoring Challenge, a four-month campaign to encourage Oklahomans to mentor young people in their communities.
Prospective volunteers can learn about mentoring opportunities in their community, and coaches can sign up to endorse the challenge at www.okcoacheschallenge.org. Coaches who register to endorse the challenge agree to let the Boren Mentoring Initiative use their name and photo in campaign publicity and social media promoting the call for new mentors in Oklahoma.
“As natural and group mentors, coaches know firsthand the impact that a mentor can have in building skills, confidence and character in our young people,” said Beverly Woodrome, director of the Boren Mentoring Initiative, which helps coordinate the statewide mentoring campaign. “By endorsing the Mentoring Challenge, they are sending a message that they value mentoring and see a critical need for more volunteer mentors for kids in their schools and communities.”
Oklahoma’s Coaches Mentoring Challenge has grown steadily over the past few years, gaining the endorsement of more than 425 coaches in 2016 and helping spread the word about mentoring through news, social media and word of mouth. The number of mentors recruited during the challenge has grown from 3,340 reported in 2014 to 4,140 reported in 2016 by participating mentoring organizations.
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. In a survey of state mentoring organizations, the Boren Mentoring Initiative found that the greatest challenge facing mentoring programs was a shortage of volunteers.
“We need grassroots support from across the state to make this campaign a success for Oklahoma kids,” Woodrome said.
The Boren Mentoring Initiative, named for Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence 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 an online directory of more than 160 mentoring partner organizations statewide and works with those organizations to offer resources and promote mentoring best practices. The initiative invites all Oklahoma mentoring programs to join its network free of charge.
The initiative also provides free consulting and resources for groups seeking to create new mentoring programs and hosts Oklahoma Mentor Day, which honors outstanding mentors from across the state. Woodrome also writes a blog, “The Oklahoma Mentor,” which provides a searchable database of mentoring ideas and best practices.
“We are happy to meet with schools, churches, businesses and others interested in starting a mentoring program in their community,” Woodrome said. “Research consistently shows that mentoring impacts mentees academically, socially, emotionally and economically. Mentoring is a game changer!”