Pam Ball, long-time Whiz Kids volunteer, was honored in January as a finalist for the 2011 David and Molly Boren Mentoring Award. In a ceremony at the State Capitol, Ball was honored, along with other Oklahoma mentors who have gone "above and beyond" to change the life of a child. You can read about the ceremony here:
Oklahoma Mentors Honored
Pam's story is a wonderful example of what happens because of the bonds that are formed between Whiz Kids tutors and children. Ball is pictured above with Audrianna, a young woman who, as an elementary student at North Highland Elementary School, was part of the Whiz Kids tutoring program at Bridgeway Church in northwest Oklahoma City. Pam and Audrianna developed a bond that continued past the student's time with Whiz Kids. When Audrianna and a few other girls graduated out of Whiz Kids and started middle school, Pam and two other Whiz Kids tutors, Debra Duncan and Peggy Stewart, decided they weren't ready to say goodbye. The women began meeting with the girls regularly to continue the relationships that had begun during their time together at Whiz Kids. Through the these meetings and special activities, such as cooking together, sewing lessons and even an overnight trip to a Christian youth conference, the women helped the girls through the often difficult transition into middle school and then into high school. The group continues to meet today, though less often because the girls are busier now than ever. On January 25, the whole group was on hand to see Pam receive her award from David Boren (see photo below). Of her years mentoring, Pam says, "I believe kids come into this life with a 'backpack' of gifts and talents already there. It's our job as parents, teachers and mentors to call forth those gifts and develop them." Evidence of Pam's doing just that was shown last summer when Audrianna travelled to Hershey, Pennsylvania to compete in a track meet in which she placed fifth nationally. It shows as well in the fact that all the girls are each working hard to successfully complete high school.
Like so many Whiz Kids tutors, Pam (and her cohorts Debra and Peggy) are making an impact on the future, one child at a time. As Audrianna says, "[Having a mentor] is like having a best friend by your side to listen to you when things go wrong. A lot of kids need one person in their lives to talk to them and listen. If somebody doesn't do it, who will?".
Fri, February 4, 2011
by Shannon Davis filed under