LRC Class of 2018 visited Claremore non-profit Musician’s Haven.
Back, L to R: Willie Ng, Michael Martin, Robin LePage, Jessica Wilbourn, Sarah Sharp, Erin Griffiths, Chip Shepard. Middle, L to R: Tony Tucker, Kaleigh Hossack, Amber Gilliland, Lovella Jones, Brandon Parduhn, Kevin Fortna, William Golden. Front, L to R: Davis Johnson, Kassie McCoy
The 2018 Class of Leadership Rogers County is now in session. This group of recognized leaders in the community began their current class year at the beginning of this month. Leadership Rogers County is a program designed to develop the talent and broaden the perspectives of its yearly class. Class members are selected through an application process and must commit to giving their best efforts to the group for the year. Leadership Rogers County focuses on expanding the students’ knowledge of what Claremore and Rogers County have to offer in the community and gives participants the opportunity to network with local businesses, organizations, public officials, and more. LRC consists of people that want to make a difference in the community. To kick off their journey, the group began its first full day of learning what Rogers County has to offer by getting to know our non-profit agencies one-on-one.
Students toured the facilities of the Rogers County Adult Daycare, Safenet Services, Rogers County Training Center, She-Brews, Children’s Advocacy Center, and then ended their day with an exciting round of “Speed Dating” with other local non-profits. Greg Crawford of the Rogers County Training Center told the LRC Class that his favorite part of coming to work each day is knowing that the adults with disabilities that they train are able to earn their own paycheck. Crawford said, “Even though it’s not a lot of money, our folks here are always so proud! They just can’t wait to show off their checks and talk about what they are going to do with their money. It’s wonderful being able to see them have so much pride in their accomplishments and their work.”
“What struck a major chord with me is how seriously our state funding cuts are deeply affecting the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. We have children and adults with disabilities who are counting on the agencies for support, but the agencies are struggling to keep their basic needs met, much less to be able to grow,” said classmate Willie Ng. Classmate Michael Martin continued, “Due to the economic situation of things like the oil and gas industry, all of our local non-profits are suffering because their funding is being cut. Our class wants to learn how we can help, even in our own small ways like volunteering and supplies drives.”
LRC Class of 2018 has decided to do several things to help their local non-profits, like selecting needs from each of the agencies that they met on their tour and focusing on one specific need each month. November will be dedicated to helping the Children’s Advocacy Center by helping to re-stock their food pantry. The Children’s Advocacy Center is an agency that works to reduce the trauma of abused children. The Center offers a child-friendly environment to compassionately serve and protect children while coordinating the interviews of children, providing medical services, case reviews and victim advocacy. Jessica Wilbourn said, “At the Children’s Advocacy Center, the children are invited to have their hand painted so they can add their handprint to the walls of the center. This symbolizes that they were there, that they do matter and that they are safe now. Seeing all of those handprints of so many sizes, large and small, really struck us all hard. As a mother, it’s hard to imagine the trauma those precious children have experienced in their short lives. It’s something that I’ll certainly never forget, and neither will my fellow classmates. I am so proud to be a part of this group and I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve others with all of my new friends. I’ve always heard that Leadership Rogers County is really life-changing, and simply from day one, I now know why.”
If you would like more information about Leadership Rogers County, please visit our website at leadershiprogerscounty.org or visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/pg/leadershiprogerscounty