Among the many wonderful community based organizations in Rogers County, two that were featured in The Progress come to mind.

Volunteer for Youth’s PAL Program, a school-based mentoring program, honored its mentors at the Mentor Recognition Luncheon recently at the Claremore Community Center. Under the leadership of Executive Director Mendy Stone, the program provided 109 Rogers County public school students with volunteer mentors, ranging from Kenna Parrish, John Carle, Dana Knierihm, and Larry Parker, among others. The program attempts to provide students with mentors in order to help them navigate difficult issues in their personal and school lives.

Teachers report that 60 percent of the mentored students improved their grade average, 73 percent showed overall attitude improvement, 78 percent improvement in self-esteem, and 65 percent in classroom behavior, in addition to greater attendance at school. That’s incredible improvement and thanks should go to the PALs.

On a similar front, Claremore Big Brothers and Big Sisters hired a new executive director, Jessica Wilbourn. Wilbourn inherits a great organization that provides wonderful services to area youth in need of an adult in their lives.

The organization, which is having a bowling for fun fundraiser at Claremore’s Thunder Bowl, has many local citizens involved including attorney Jim Tanner, RCB banker Bob McKinney, Nelda Dake of the Bank of Commerce, Progress employee Sandy Spears, and Gene Smith of Rogers County Loan Company. Local attorney and volunteer Dale Marlar keeps the bowlers entertained during the fundraiser to help Rogers County kids have a steady stable adult influence in their lives.

Whether it’s the mentor program of PALs or Big Brothers and Big Sisters, both have area citizens making a difference in the lives of our next generation. It’s another reason Claremore is a great place to live.

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