Claremore Daily Progress

November 11, 2012

WANTED: MENTORS

PAL Program kicks off recruitment campaign

Rebecca Hattaway
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —  

Men. Women. Police Officers. Firefighters. Business Professionals. Retirees. RSU students. Young Adults. 
Volunteers for Youth’s PAL Program wants YOU.
They have launched a new poster campaign recruiting people from all walks of life to become mentors.
The school-based program matches mentors with students in Rogers County schools. They meet for an hour each week during the school year.
They also offer e-PAL in which mentors and mentees communicate by email one a week and meet face-to-face once a month.
“We have a wide range of kids selected for our program,” said Volunteers for Youth Executive Director Melynda Stone. “Basically, we recognize them as kids who really just need one more caring adult in their lives.”
One special group the PAL Program is focusing on recruiting is Veterans.
Veteran Larry “Ace” Parker has mentored several students over many years at Sequoyah.
Mentee Dalton was matched with Parker as a second grader. He is now a junior in high school.
They are featured on one of the posters.
“Larry has just been an inspiring mentor,” Stone said. “Veterans are one of our targets for mentors because they have servants’ hearts anyway. They can be very influential on a young person.”
Stone solicited Northeast Technology Center’s EAST (Environmental and Spatial Technology) program to help with the recruitment project.
Students Tyler Mooney and Brad Combs have worked with Stone to brainstorm groups to target, design the posters and develop the marketing campaign. They even carried a banner in the Veterans Parade on Friday.
The 11x17 framed posters will be on display throughout the community beginning this week.
“All the posters have the same look and feel, but they each target a different audience,” Stone said. “Hopefully, people will walk into a bank one day and see a poster, and then see another at Chili’s the next day. They will be all over to keep the need in front of people.”
The posters will have pull off cards with the phone number and web site for more information.
The campaign will culminate in January which is National Mentoring Month.
The PAL Program will host a recognition event for mentors featuring special speaker, Cindi Hemm, a retired principal at Oklahoma City Public Schools.
“She authored the book Miracle on Southwest Boulevard which credits mentoring as one of the major things that turned her school around,” Stone said. “We hope we will have a bunch of new volunteers by then.”
For more information about the PAL Program, call (918) 343-2530 by www.volunteersforyouth.com. 
Volunteers for Youth is a Rogers County United Way agency.