Positive Partnerships: Boren Initiative Cultivates Mentoring Programs throughout State

By Page, David | THE JOURNAL RECORD, July 25, 2014 | Go to article overview

Positive Partnerships: Boren Initiative Cultivates Mentoring Programs throughout State


Page, David, THE JOURNAL RECORD


OKLAHOMA CITY - A mentoring relationship with a young person yields significant long-term economic and social benefits, according to a state survey of youth mentoring programs.

The survey by the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative, a program of the Oklahoma Foundation of Excellence, included 78 of the foundation's 118 mentoring partnering organizations.

"Our goal in collecting this data was to build a starting profile of the state of mentoring in Oklahoma - to find out which groups are mentoring, to gather demographic data on youths being served or awaiting services, to look at program funding and best practices, and to look at program goals and challenges," said Beverly Woodrome, director of the Boren Mentoring Initiative.

The mentoring initiative worked with foundation trustee and research consultant Cathy Render of RVA Market Research in Tulsa to gather and compile the data.

Results of the survey indicated a need for youth mentoring programs and volunteers, Woodrome said.

"Oklahomans are nationally famous for helping, yet 42 percent of the programs chose recruiting adequate numbers of mentors as the No. 1 challenge," she said.

According to the survey, the average mentoring program has 28 children on the waiting list.

The 78 programs in the survey represented 32,680 children, including 26,765 who are in group mentoring programs, including 4-H Club and Girl Scouts, and 5,914 in one-on-one programs, such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

Common characteristics of participants in the programs included low income, 79 percent, and children from single-parent households, 59 percent.

Woodrome said there is a much larger pool of children in Oklahoma who could potentially benefit from participating in a mentoring program.

According to the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy's Kids Count 2014 Oklahoma Profile, there are 331,000 children in single- family homes in the state.

Many children aging out of foster care, youths on probation or in juvenile facilities and children of incarcerated parents could benefit from mentoring programs, Woodrome said. …

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