Twenty-two outstanding Oklahoma mentors are being recognized by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and their community mentoring organizations during National Mentor Month in January. Among those is Kathy Hill, a sign language interpreter from Yukon. She is the outstanding mentor for House of Healing.
The honored mentors were submitted by their respective mentoring organizations across the state, and each received certificates of achievement from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. The certificates are being presented in the communities where the mentors volunteer.
“We salute these outstanding mentors for the important role they play in helping young people achieve better academic, social and economic futures,” said Emily Stratton, executive director of the Foundation for Excellence. “Oklahoma mentors are truly changing lives!”
Hill is a sign language interpreter with Putnam City Schools. She and mentee Sarah have been matched for a year.
“Kathy has strong Christian values and cares deeply for those she mentors, she is very dedicated,” said Kathy Boeck-man, CEO of House of Heal-ing. “Kathy gives countless hours making sure she is available when her mentee needs her.”
Hill and Sarah enjoy spending time together at the House of Healing property and interacting with their favorite horses. The two have built a strong bond of trust during their time together, and Sarah has experienced growth in her self-confidence.
“In addition to her mentoring commitment, Kathy is also a member of our Board of Directors,” Boeckman said. “She makes an impact on our programs with her decision making, strategic planning and her financial support.”
House of Healing serves teen girls age 13-17. The Authentic Girl Mentoring program and Equine Experience program work hand in hand to accomplish key goals: empowering teenage girls through better coping and conflict resolution skills, teaching girls to make better life choices and restore self-esteem, build self-assurance and values they need to overcome a negative social environment and provide tools that assist in their emotional healing.
The Equine Experience also teaches girls about proper physical and mental horse care and horse anatomy. The experience is a powerful hands-on tool for girls to build confidence, develop good communication skills and overcome their fears.
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a statewide nonprofit that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. Through its statewide mentoring initiative, the foundation promotes the growth and development of quality youth mentoring programs. The foundation works with school districts and mentoring organizations to promote mentoring as a positive step toward academic success.
“Through a statewide survey of mentoring organizations, we found that the most positive program outcomes were improved academic performance, positive mentor-mentee relationships, improved behavior, increased self-esteem and greater enrichment opportunities for participating youth,” Stratton said. “Mentoring also helps students develop resilience and feel supported as they face difficult life challenges.”
National Mentoring Month is a campaign sponsored by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to celebrate the power of mentoring relationships and recruit new volunteer mentors. The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence provides a directory of mentoring organizations across the state seeking volunteers.
Other statewide Outstanding Mentors include: Rachelle Wilson of Bartlesville; Olene Hale of Beaver; Rovden Heginbotham of Big Cabin; Garrett Ewell and John Lingenfelter, both of Claremore; Terry Dennard of Duncan; Olivia Long of Elgin; Kathy Hill of El Reno; Elizabeth Nalley, and Bryan and Ida Mae Wheeler, all of Lawton; Connie Quattlebaum of Leedey; Ronald Anderson, Shavonne Evans, Mallory Lambert, and Taylor Thacker, all of Norman; Jolene Ingram, and Nancy Nathaniel, both of Oklahoma City; Royden Heginbotham (again) for work in Pryor; Sarah Casey, Scott Cornelius, Olivia Long, Brooke Ryan, and Patrick Williams, all of Stillwater; Garrett Ewell of Tulsa; and Hill, of Yukon.