Each year before the class embarks on their mission of learning everything they can about Rogers County, they spend some time getting to know each other. The students spent their first day at Northeast Tech learning about their strengths while also getting to know the strengths and personalities of their classmates.
“I was surprised to learn all the areas my strengths could attribute to my career that I had not considered. It was great working in small groups sharing top strengths we each had,” said Sara Moss, class attendee.
The following Saturday, the classmates used skills and knowledge from their first meeting to tackle the RSU ropes course together. Individuals were able to pull from their discovered strengths to motivate classmates along the obstacles of the course.
“The ropes course was a day of overcoming fears and learning to work as a team. I was able to accomplish things that earlier in the day I didn’t think I could do,” said LRC student Christi Mackey.
Over the next six months, the leadership class will meet once a month to gain a new perspective on different aspects of the Rogers County community and explore what the county has to offer.
For their October meeting, students toured several facilities including: Habitat for Humanity ReStore of Claremore, located at 202 N Owalla Ave., the Claremore Animal Shelter located at 815 W Ramm Rd., and the William W. Barnes Children’s Advocacy Center located at 213 E. Patti Page Blvd.
Students were able to ask questions about each organization to better understand the organization’s role in the community.
After the onsite tours, the group gathered at DestinyLife Church, where they participated in “speed dating” with even more local non-profits from our community. During the brief information sessions, the students were able to spend five minutes with each organization learning about what they do and where they may have the most need.
A common theme from each organization the students met with was the need for volunteers. “None of these organizations are going to turn down financial assistance but what we are truly lacking and want to see more of is people in the community volunteering their time. This can mean serving on a board, heading up a committee or just helping at events throughout the year,” said Courtney Blevins, LRC Class of 2019 student and board president of the Habitat for Humanity Claremore affiliate.
One after another, the non-profit organizations told the students of how integral community support is to their survival. Andy Couch, who is a LRC Class of 2019 student and the Executive Director of the Claremore Museum of History said, “I would like to see more participation. Donations and volunteer work are always welcome. However, what I want to see the most is the community supporting our local museums through memberships and participation. The MOH is home to several hidden gems, including: items from the musical Oklahoma!, Andy Payne, Stuart Roosa, and so much more.”
One organization in critical need left a lasting impression on many of this year’s students. Volunteers for Youth serves the most vulnerable individuals in our county, our youth. The group was formed in 1998 and recently celebrated their 20thanniversary. The organization operates seven mentor and classroom programs within the community. Last year they were unable to match 34 boys needing mentors because they did not have enough male volunteers. “I believe this is a call to action to the men in our community. Donating as little as one hour per week to a young boy who needs a mentor can be life changing to both the child and the mentor,” says Matt Boyer, LRC Class of 2019 student.
Another shocking revelation came when the students learned that Volunteers for Youth is currently operating on reserves. Unfortunately, they could run out of funding as soon as early 2019. “We were shocked to learn that Volunteers for Youth is facing potential closure. This will be a huge loss that will be felt throughout the community. We need to act fast and help this organization,” says LRC student Aubree Pixley.
After hearing from the local non-profits, the LRC Class of 2019 is committed to making monthly donations to fill as many of these needs as possible. Next month they will be donating snacks and supplies to the Children’s Advocacy Center with donations of bleach and soap to the Claremore Animal Shelter in the very near future.
As a class, they will also be giving cash donations when tangible items are not requested. “I think it’s important that we give back to our community in any way we can. As we learned today, that doesn’t always mean a monetary donation; it can sometimes be as simple as an hour of your time. I hope others will follow our lead and do the same,” says LRC student Ryan Kelley.