Representatives from Foyil Public Schools, Mid-America Pipeline and Northeast Technology Center crowded behind an oversized check to celebrate the sponsorship of northeast Oklahoma’s first One Million Men in the Making Club. The program focuses on mentoring male teens and providing the materials to help them successfully transition into skilled, capable young men.
“I’m looking forward to watching our students grow and gain confidence as young men,” said Foyil Junior High and High School Principal Lance Williams. “As with many rural communities, our young men are in need of strong, positive role models.”
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. The One Million Men in the Making program has shown a number of trackable data points such as increased attendance at school, higher percentage of youth holding leadership positions and increased college enrollment.
The program caught the attention of Northeast Technology Center employees Liberty Shere and Sara Stephens, who are currently participating in the inaugural class of the Northeast Oklahoma Regional Alliance (NORA) Leadership Academy.
“As part of the NORA Leadership Academy, our class has the opportunity to complete a service project that will benefit northeast Oklahoma,” said Shere, the business development consultant for Northeast Tech. “Our classmates loved the idea of making a positive, long-term impact on young men in Oklahoma, so we began the process of presenting the idea to school administrators and finding sponsors.”
Lance Williams, the junior high and high school principal at Foyil, heard Shere and Stephens present the Men in the Making program information at the Roger’s County Superintendents’ Meeting in February, and he was immediately interested.
“This would be a perfect program at our school,” Williams said of his first impression of the program.
After hearing the presentation, Williams quickly contacted Shere to find out how to bring Men in the Making clubs to Foyil.
“Once a school shows interest in the program, we begin to talk about the logistics of bringing it into the district,” Shere said. “Thankfully, we did not have to look very long for a sponsor for Foyil’s program – Mid-America Pipeline quickly stepped up to make it possible.”
Mid-America Pipeline has operated in the pipeline construction business for 15 years, and even though the company is now based in Tulsa, its roots are in Foyil where it opened in 2003. Mid-America Pipeline Manager R.J. Shultz is a long-time acquaintance of Shere’s, and when she told him about the program, he thought it would be a good resource for kids living in a small town.
“I started working on the pipeline at 15, and between that and my parents, I learned how to do all the things a man should, from fixing a tire to holding doors open for people and saying, ‘yes sir,’” Shultz said. “I hope this program gives the kids a chance to learn how to be nice young men who can get a job and do the right things in life.”
Mid-America’s $2,000 donation will cover the cost of all the books and materials used by the sixth and seventh grade students who participate in the program. Foyil’s Men in the Making Club will be launched during the 2017-2018 school year, and while Mid-America’s generous donation covers all the costs associated with the program, mentors are still needed.
“We are still looking for two male mentors who are willing to facilitate the program, and they can expect a time commitment of one hour per week,” Shere said. “Anyone who is willing to volunteer their time can contact me, or reach out to Mr. Williams directly. We believe this program will give students the skills they need to achieve personal and professional growth, and when they succeed, our communities will reap the benefits.”
For information on starting a Men in the Making club in a school district contact Liberty Shere at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-476-8252. To learn more about Men In The Making clubs, visit www.1mclubs.com.