|Wanda Pratt (center), aka “Mama Durant,” the mother of Thunder Basketball star Kevin Durant, present an Outstanding Mentor Award to Susan Browning, a volunteer with Studio 222, an after-school program sponsored by St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. They are joined by Browning's mentee, Jaeviyon. (Photo by Travis Caperton, Oklahoma State Capitol)|
Susan Browning was selected as the outstanding mentor for Studio 222, an after-school program sponsored by St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. The program engages professional artists from the Oklahoma City area to provide a positive environment where children can develop strong, healthy self-esteem and resilience against at-risk behaviors.
“Susan’s kind and gentle spirit, along with her commitment to always being available and willing to help at Studio 222, has impacted both the program and the students she mentors,” said Executive Director Julie Robinson.
A retired teacher, Browning mentors all of the youth in the program; however, one in particular, Jaeviyon, a 15-year-old from Taft Middle School, has benefited from her extended time and attention for two years. Browning makes sure he meets expectations, is acknowledged for his accomplishments and is cared for in a way that makes him feel special, Robinson said.
“Susan’s genuine interest in what is going on in Jaeviyon’s life makes him light up,” she said. “They will lightly tease each other at times, and you can see a respect for each other through this playfulness and other ways they interact. She is an incredible role model for him.”
One artist working with the program commented that Browning is a wonderful influence on Jaeviyon and the other students because she talks with them on a level that is relatable and understands their feelings. And, because she is quick to share stories of her life, she makes it easy for them to talk to her and easy to trust her with their own stories.
“Studio 222 is blessed to have such a warm and giving person like Susan, and we are proud to call her our outstanding mentor.”