To help support the growth and development of K-12 mentoring programs in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has announced the recipients of its 2023 Boren Mentoring Initiative start-up and opportunity grants totaling $22,500.
Start-up grants of $3,000 each have been awarded to the James Booth Foundation Mentoring of OKLAHOMA CITY, an athletics-driven mentoring organization; and the Bulldogs PAWS of OKMULGEE, which will use funds to launch an after-school mentoring program serving students in Okmulgee Public Schools. Start-up grants are awarded to organizations in their first three years of operation and are designed to encourage communities to establish quality youth mentoring programs.
Eleven opportunity grants of $1,500 each were awarded to existing mentoring programs to help fund programming, training, materials or other needs that advance excellence in mentoring for K-12 students. Recipients are the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Literacy Center of ALVA; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma in BARTLESVILLE; Bruins on the Run of BARTLESVILLE; The Lowe Family Young Scholars Program of BARTLESVILLE; BEST! Mentoring of CACHE; Volunteers for Youth Pal+ Program of CLAREMORE; One True Light Inc. of DUNCAN; Gentlemen and Generals of LAWTON; and Lincoln County Partnership for Child Well Being programs in AGRA, CARNEY and MEEKER Public Schools.
“We are thrilled to announce our 2023 Boren Mentoring Initiative Grant recipients as they expand and continue their mentoring programs across the state,” said Lauren Dow, manager of the Boren Mentoring Initiative. “This year, we’re honored to support 13 organizations leading innovative and meaningful efforts to foster mentorship in their communities.”
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a statewide nonprofit founded in 1985 by then U.S. Sen. David L. Boren to recognize and encourage academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. The David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative – one of the foundation’s five programs — promotes the growth and development of quality mentoring programs in Oklahoma. The initiative grew out of the Borens’ own commitment to mentoring and the proven impact mentoring can have on a student’s success in and out of the classroom. For more information, visit ofe.org or contact Program Specialist Lauren Dow at (405) 236-0006.
* * *
Boren Mentoring Initiative Grant recipients are listed below by the city in which they serve. Each listing includes a brief description of how the Mentoring Program plans to use its grant funds.
ALVA – Northwestern Oklahoma State University Literacy Center provides individual academic mentors and tutoring services to P-12 students and prioritizes tutoring for rural students. Grant funds will be utilized to purchase laptop computers and video cameras to support virtual tutoring services.
AGRA – The Lincoln County Partnership for Child Well Being is partnering with Agra Public Schools to make positive changes that will improve safety and health across Lincoln County public schools through schoolwide mentoring programs. Grant funds will support Agra Public School’s peer-to-peer mentoring group to make a positive change in their school culture by mentoring Agra elementary students and by hosting a “shout out” assembly to introduce their group and goals.
BARTLESVILLE – Bruins on the Run is an after-school mentoring and running program for fifth graders who run after school with their teacher-mentors. The program is sponsored by the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation. Boren Mentoring Initiative Grant funds will help fund running shoes for participating students and allow the program to grow to meet an expanding need within the community.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma provides fully vetted, caring mentors for children ages 6 through 18. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Grant funds from the Boren Mentoring Initiative will cover the cost of three months of match support for seven new Bartlesville Big Brother Big Sister matches.
The Lowe Family Young Scholars Program assists academically promising, yet economically disadvantaged 12 to 22-year-old students in the Bartlesville Public School System to earn a college degree. Seventh graders are matched with mentors to help prepare them for college and eventually for college graduation. Students and mentors meet weekly as well as eight times a year for meetings and volunteering with the whole LFYS Program. Boren Mentoring Initiative Grant funds will support ongoing mentor training and educational materials as well as match activities like museum visits, college visits, meals and other activities.
CACHE – Established in 2019, BEST! Mentoring is a community-based mentoring program in Southwest Oklahoma. BEST! matches fifth-12th graders with a positive role model in the community. Mentoring focuses on life skills, career exploration, and character building. Boren Mentoring Grant funds will cover the cost of BEST! Mentoring’s annual kickoff event and educational materials for participating mentors.
CARNEY – The Lincoln County Partnership for Child Well Being partners with Carney Public Schools to make positive changes that will improve safety and health across Lincoln County public schools through schoolwide mentoring programs. Boren Mentoring Grant Funds will be utilized to purchase mentoring peer-to-peer curriculum and plan a positive mental health day for the students at Carney Schools.
CLAREMORE – Volunteers for Youth’s PAL+ Program is a mentoring program that serves youth grades K-12. The PAL+ Program serves youth in a one-on-one match as well as in group settings. The purpose of the PAL+ Program is to enhance the lives of youth through prosocial activities and healthy relationship building. Boren Mentoring Grant funds will cover the cost of Innovative Mentoring software, which allows the program to track mentees and mentors waiting, matches, and allows mentors to log their interactions with mentees.
DUNCAN – One True Light was incorporated in 2012 with the mission of “Linking Generations to Learn, Love and Live Together.” Its focus is to unite the community to meet the physical, emotional, and academic needs of our children. One True Light focuses on serving the children in Duncan through two programs, Summer Food and Fun and Link One Mentoring. Boren Mentoring Grant funds will be used to purchase items for a summer sendoff goodie bag for all the mentees to receive from their mentor. The goodie bags, along with a heartfelt note from the child’s mentor, will provide fun activities for the summer when mentors and mentees are not meeting weekly.
LAWTON – Eisenhower Elementary School’s The Gentlemen and Generals program (G2) is an after-school club that serves boys in third through fifth grades. At each meeting, boys learn various skills that teach them about becoming gentlemen. Grant funds will be used to sponsor an end-of-the-year field trip to an OKC Dodgers baseball game and a meal at a local restaurant on the way home to practice their etiquette skills.
MEEKER – The Lincoln County Partnership for Child Well Being partners with Meeker Public Schools to make positive changes that will improve safety and health across Lincoln County public schools through schoolwide mentoring programs. Boren Mentoring Grant funds will be used to purchase curriculum for an in-school Peer-to-Peer Mentor program between Meeker’s middle and high schools.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The James Booth Foundation provides new basketball shoes and socks and is launching an accompanying mentorship program to support middle and high school students (13 to 18-year-olds) in the Oklahoma City metro area. Boren Mentoring Initiative grant funds will cover the cost of printed materials, such as books and workbooks, along with snack and food items for mentees and mentors.
OKMULGEE – Bulldogs PAWS (Partners at Work in Schools) is a startup mentoring endeavor which will provide community mentors to elementary students in Okmulgee Public Schools. Boren Mentoring Grant funds will support the recruitment and training of PAWS volunteers, including background checks and training materials.