Head football coaches Mike Gundy, of Oklahoma State University, and Bob Stoops, of the University of Oklahoma, are teaming with the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence through its Boren Mentoring Initiative to host the Oklahoma Coaches’ Mentoring Challenge, a campaign to recruit mentors for young people in need.
The Coaches’ Mentoring Challenge started in 2008 as a friendly competition between mentoring advocates and head football coaches Tom Osborne, at the University of Nebraska, and Bill Snyder, at Kansas State University. Since then, 15 current and retired coaches from Big 12 and Big Ten teams have joined the challenge.
This year, the Big 12 Conference also has endorsed the campaign, which runs through Nov. 30.
Last year’s campaign rallied nearly 9,000 new volunteer mentors in participating states, and this year organizers have set a goal of recruiting 15,000 new mentors.
“As coaches, we have the opportunity to positively influence the lives of our athletes both on and off of the field,” Stoops said. “However, more and more youth are in need of a positive role model.”
Gundy said, “In an effort to help close this ‘mentoring gap,’ we are joining the Coaches’ Mentoring Challenge to encourage our fans to become mentors to local youth in need of positive adult influence in their lives.”
In partnership with the Boren Mentoring Initiative, Stoops and Gundy are sending letters to college and high school football coaches throughout Oklahoma encouraging them to also endorse and support the mentoring campaign in their communities.
The Boren Mentoring Initiative has launched a website, www.okcoacheschallenge.org, where people can sign up to mentor.
The website also offers information for participating mentoring organizations as well as Oklahoma coaches who would like to register to join the campaign. The site includes ideas and materials for promoting the campaign and recruiting mentors in communities across the state.
In a recent survey of Oklahoma mentoring organizations, the Boren Mentoring Initiative found that the greatest challenge facing mentoring organizations was a shortage of volunteers.
“We need grassroots support from across the state to make this campaign a success for Oklahoma kids,” Director Beverly Woodrome said.
The initiative has created a directory of more than 100 mentoring partner organizations statewide and works with those organizations to seek volunteers, offer resources and promote mentoring best practices. The initiative encourages all Oklahoma mentoring programs to join its network free of charge.
The program provides consulting and resources for groups seeking to create new mentoring programs and also hosts Oklahoma Mentor Day at the Capitol, which honors outstanding mentors. Woodrome writes a blog, “The Oklahoma Mentor,” which provides a searchable database of mentoring ideas and best practices.
For more information on the Coaches’ Mentoring Challenge, go to www.okcoacheschallenge.org or contact Woodrome at 236-0006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.