By Carol Mowdy Bond
During National Mentoring Month in January, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence recognizes Yukon’s Kathy Hill for the important role she plays in helping young people achieve better academic, social, and economic futures. Kathy Boeckman, the CEO of House of Healing, 7300 Britton Rd. NE in El Reno, where Hill volunteers, nominated Hill for the recognition.
For 27 years, Hill has worked as a sign language interpreter for Oklahoma City’s Putnam City School District, for grades 3 through 12. But she began volunteering at House of Healing five years ago. And she has served on the board for two years.
Hill has mentored three girls in the past. But at present, she and her mentee, Sarah, have been matched for a year. The two enjoy spending time together at the House of Healing property, and interacting with their favorite horses. They’ve built a strong bond of trust, and Sarah has experienced growth in her self-confidence.
Hill said, “My first and foremost responsibility is to make the girls feel safe and loved, and to teach them to love themselves, and believe in their self-worth, and abilities to accomplish anything they set as goal to achieve. Some of the things we do are go out to lunch or to the park, ride horses, or do work around the House of Healing property. If the girls are involved in sports or other, I try to attend. I reach out to my girls once a week through text, phone call or visit. However, this year with the pandemic, it’s been mainly text or call. The main thing is these girls want to feel loved and have a sense of purpose. We all need a cheerleader, and that’s what I try to be to them.”
Crediting her Christian mother with instilling in her values such as love, grace, forgiveness, and self-worth, Hill said, “I’ve always wanted to work with young girls.”
Kathy Boeckman said, “Kathy Hill has strong, Christian values and cares deeply for those she mentors. She is very dedicated. Kathy gives countless hours making sure she is available when her mentee needs her.”
Hill said, “When Kathy Boeckman told me about the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence award, I was very humbled. I don’t feel worthy of recognition. But I am honored to receive it. We have many volunteers and mentors at House of Healing that are so deserving for the work and ministry they put into making our program successful. So, I share this honor with them!”
House of Healing serves teen girls who are ages 13 through 17. The Authentic Girl Mentoring program and Equine Experience program work hand in hand to accomplish key goals: empowering teenage girls through better coping and conflict resolution skills, teaching girls to make better life choices and restore self-esteem, build self-assurance and values they need to overcome a negative social environment and provide tools that assist in their emotional healing. The Equine Experience also teaches girls about proper physical and mental horse care and horse anatomy. The experience is a powerful hands-on tool for girls to build confidence, develop good communication skills and overcome their fears. The program has completed the Standards for Excellence course by the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits.
Hill is one of 22 outstanding Oklahoma mentors who are recognized this month by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and their community organizations during National Mentoring Month. The nonprofit foundation is a statewide nonprofit that recognizes and encourages academic excellence. National Mentoring Month is a campaign sponsored by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to celebrate the power of mentoring relationships and recruit new volunteer mentors. The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence provides a directory of mentoring organizations across the state seeking volunteers. For more information and a list of this year’s honored mentors, visit http://www.okmentors.org.