Robert Harrison

Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence
   
Oklahoma Mentor Day

Robert Harrison

Beaver Duster Mentoring Program, Beaver

While many mentors have been praised for going the extra mile, Rev. Robert Harrison literally goes the extra mile for his mentee Seth, regularly driving 60 miles round-trip to help nurture Seth’s love and talent for art.

The outstanding mentor for Beaver Duster Mentoring Program, Harrison has been matched to Seth, a sixth-grader, for a year and a half. When the mentoring program learned about Seth’s talent for drawing, they found a retired art teacher willing to provide lessons. The only catch was that the art teacher lived 30 miles away in Turpin.

Harrison, a pastor at Beaver United Methodist Church, volunteered to drive Seth to his lessons, which not only nurtured the boy’s talent as an artist, but also provided valuable drive time for the two to connect. Harrison said mentoring has provided him a new perspective by helping a child who is not his own.

Linda Downing, Beaver Dusters Mentoring Program coordinator said she has seen positive changes in Seth since he was matched with Harrison, who she describes as very outgoing.

“Seth is quiet and somewhat withdrawn, but he loves to draw and is very, very good at it,” she said. “Seth looks forward to seeing Robert each week. If he isn’t drawing, the two are playing games… Seth looks happy, and that speaks volumes to me.”

Downing said Harrison is a role model to other mentors in the program because of his commitment to mentoring “outside the box.” 

Linda Downing’s husband and fellow mentor, Bob, agrees.

“Robert definitely deserves this outstanding mentor recognition because he’s not just going the extra mile,” Bob Downing said. “He’s going 60 extra miles every time they drive to Turpin.”

 

About the program: Beaver Duster Mentoring Program, launched in October 2014, matches community volunteer mentors and high school student peer mentors with elementary students. Among various activities, the mentor-mentee matches play board and physical games as well as do crafts. Some mentors also volunteer for additional reading with students, and some mentor high school students.