The Northeast Oklahoma Regional Alliance (NORA) Leadership Academy is working to implement the nationally known mentorship program, Men in the Making, throughout schools in northeast Oklahoma. The program focuses on mentoring male teens and providing the materials to help them successfully transition into skilled, capable young men.
“For boys who may not have a positive male role model in their lives, this program will help them learn practical skills and develop positive character traits,” said Liberty Shere, Business Development Consultant for Northeast Technology Center and member of the NORA Leadership Academy. “Even for those boys who already have positive role models, our hope is that this program will help them mature into responsible, productive members of their communities.”
The NORA Leadership Academy is in its inaugural year, and the first class – which is made of individuals from a 14 county region – has chosen to use the Men in the Making program as part of its service project. The idea was pitched to the NORA Leadership Academy by Shere and her colleague Sara Stephens, who is the organizational and leadership trainer for Northeast Technology Center.
“The biggest takeaway for me is the opportunity to make positive, long-term impact on young men in northeast Oklahoma,” said Stephens. “The Men in the Making clubs are weekly service-learning meetings where young men find a sense of belonging while learning the life skills and personal character traits of confident, capable men.”
Once approved as the group’s service project, each member of the class now plays a role in implementing these programs in schools throughout northeast Oklahoma by securing sponsorships and recruiting mentors. Once a sponsor has been found for each school, the NORA Leadership class can then begin working with individual schools on recruiting boys to the program. The group’s goal is to help found Men in the Making clubs in every school district in northeast Oklahoma.
“Each organization will be closely monitored to track progress and success rates,” Stephens said. “Aside from building confidence in boys during the awkward teenage years, the program has also shown a number of trackable data points, like increased attendance at school, higher percentage of youth holding leadership positions and increased college enrollment.”
The Men in the Making program was founded by Jonathan Catherman, best-selling author and speaker. Catherman has been involved in public and private education for 23 years and strives to deliver leadership models and instructional materials for the youth. While developing this curriculum Jonathan Catherman collaborated with Matthew Ohlson, Ph.D. of the Taylor Leadership Institute at the University of North Florida.
“We would love to see a Men in the Making Club in every school district in the NORA Region,” said Shere. “We believe it will give them the skills they need to achieve personal and professional growth, and when they succeed, our communities will reap the benefits.”
Shere and Stephens have already presented to several groups of school superintendents, and their next presentation will take place on Monday, May 27, at the Mayes County Superintendents’ Luncheon hosted at the NTC Administration Building.
For information on starting a Men in the Making club in a school district contact NORA Director Darla Heller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-772-8334 for a connection to a Leadership Academy representative. Learn more about Men In The Making clubs at www.1mclubs.com.
The Northeast Oklahoma Regional Alliance (NORA) is a nonprofit organization committed to sustaining and improving Northeastern Oklahoma. The organization serve as a catalyst and collaborator for finding solutions to the opportunities and challenges facing this growing region.