Oklahoma City — Calvin Tribal 4-H peer mentors Emily Carter, Emma Craven and T. J. Fugitt were among 52 outstanding Oklahoma youth mentors who were honored Jan. 15 during the second annual Oklahoma Mentor Day at the Capitol presented by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and its David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative.
"The goal of Oklahoma Mentor Day is to recognize outstanding mentors from all types of youth mentoring organizations around the state and to provide fun, educational activities for the honorees and their mentees to share," said Beverly Woodrome, director of the Boren Mentoring Initiative. "Mentor Day also draws attention to the value of mentoring and the tremendous impact that mentors make in their mentees' lives."
Mentor Day is held in conjunction with National Mentoring Month in January.
The 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 that mentoring 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. Since then, more than 100 Oklahoma mentoring organizations have joined the foundation's network.
Mentoring Day honorees were selected by their respective programs within the Mentoring Initiative network. Each recipient received a certificate of recognition signed by Boren. The award presentations, which took place in the House of Representatives' chambers, were made by Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence President Les Risser of Norman. Past president and trustee Patti Mellow of Oklahoma City read descriptions about each outstanding mentor.
More than 200 people, including mentors, mentees and representatives from state mentoring organizations attended the day's events. Mentor Day included hands-on educational activities presented by the Oklahoma City Zoo Education Department and Girl Scouts-Western Oklahoma STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Program. Guests also enjoyed live jazz music by Chris Hicks and Mitch Bell and juggling lessons by Bill Williams. Capping off the day was a mentor-mentee outing to the Devon Ice Rink in downtown Oklahoma City.
The Calvin Tribal 4-H Tribal program selected Calvin High School seniors Carter, Craven and Fugitt as its Mentors of the Year to be recognized at Oklahoma Mentor Day. All three mentors joined 4-H when they were in the fourth grade. The Tribal 4-H program serves Native American students ages 8-14, along with other students identified by the school as possible high risk because of single parents, low-income or deployed military parents. Older teen 4-H members volunteer to be mentors and help with the program for one year. Younger 4-H members are matched with a teen mentor or an adult mentor for the entire school year and meet every Wednesday for a three-hour after-school program.
Active in 4-H with many projects in horses, beef, dogs and leadership, Carter has been a mentor in the tribal 4-H group for two years and has had several mentees. Graduating valedictorian of the Class of 2014, she is captain of the Calvin High School girls' basketball team and active in the Future Farmers of American. She plans to attend Oklahoma University upon graduation.
Craven's favorite 4-H projects have been in clothing, public speaking and leadership. She currently is a Hughes County 4-H officer. She has been a mentor for two years and works weekly with younger 4-H members in the after-school program. She is also a cheerleader and plans to attend East Central University after graduation.
Fugitt's 4-H interests include leadership, public speaking and food science. Currently, a Hughes County 4-H officer, she has been a mentor for two years and helps weekly with the after-school program. A cheerleader and active Future Farmers of America member, Fugitt also attends Kiamichi Vocational Technical School. She plans to attend college after graduation.
Carl Rutledge, a professor at East Central University, was selected for the Outstanding Mentor honor by the Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (OK-SLAMP) at ECU.