Saturday, December 13, 2014

Beads of Courage for Ill Youths
Quite accidentally we happened upon an interesting segment of a beading show. Fascinated by the Beads of Courage program featured, we searched for more information.

As we have mentioned before, a mentoring organization’s service involvement in the community with other programs is essential just as businesses must give back and serve. Collaboration and support are key.

Through the Beads of Courage program, youths with serious, usually long-term diseases receive special beads for their treatments and procedures. Disorders can include:
  • Cancer and blood disorders
  • Cardiac conditions
  • Burn injuries
  • Neonatal ICU families
  • Chronic illness
Some youths have hundreds or thousands of beads. In case a child is too small to wear the weight of the beads themselves, a parent may wear them.

Oklahoma has three hospitals involved.  

  • The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center, Oklahoma City
  • The Children's Hospital at St. Francis, Tulsa
  • Procure Proton Therapy Center, Oklahoma City
These hospitals take young people from all over the state and surrounding areas so that no matter where you mentor or tutor you have local children mentally and physical combating diseases for their very existence.  

Each bead, a tangible reminder, has significance and tells a story about the wearer to others participating in or knowledgeable about the program. For example, a magenta bead stands for an ER visit, a square heart bead indicates a transfer to ICU, and a white bead for chemotherapy. 

Among the art aspects of the program is a bead design contest, e.g., what does courage or love look like. A little booklet with all the designs submitted and the names of the young designers is created, and the winning bead is executed and replicated. The program encompasses so much more including opportunities for woodworkers, quilters, and volunteers.

We won't even mention the psychological/therapeutic aspects of the beads earned.

How could a local mentoring program participate? Explore the site and think. What could you do long distance if you live far from Oklahoma City or Tulsa? What could you do if you are in one of the urban areas? Could your organization raise funds for beads for a local youth receiving treatment far from home? Is there a way you and your mentors or mentees could volunteer? Send us your suggestions applicable to your situation.

Among the many You Tube videos related to this subject were these must-see ones.

“Published on Jul 13, 2014
This video is about my Beads of Courage. Each bead represents a step in my journey with mitochondrial disease.”

Beads of Courage on CBS Sunday Morning

“Uploaded on Mar 24, 2011
December 12, 2010 - For more than 100,000 years, glass beads have been given as symbols of honor and accomplishment. Now they're being used for something else -- to help kids fighting cancer tell the story of their illness, first to themselves, and then to family and friends. Mark Strassmann reports.”

Ret. 12-9-14

Postscript: These two videos might be worthwhile to any young people encountering obstacles. 'Mentor-mentee conversation, lessons learned discussion, values, resilience, hope...?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Women & Early Coding

This Twitter post reminding us about women coding arrived in our email. Further research revealed that the original article was published in the April 1967 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. Links to various articles related to or catalyzed by the original article follow. Google "computer girls" for more.

The Computer Girls
by Lois Mandel

A trainee gets $8,000 a year...a girl "senior systems engineer, gets $20,000--and up! Maybe it's time to investigate....

Ann Richardson, IBM systems engineer, designs a bridge via computer. Above (left) she checks her facts with fellow systems engineer, Marvin V. Fuchs. Right, she feeds facts into the computer. Below, Ann demonstrates on a viewing screen how her facts designed the bridge, and makes changes with a "light pen."

Twenty years ago, a girl could be a secretary, a school teacher...maybe a librarian, a social worker or a nurse. If she was really ambitious, she could go into the professions and compete with men...usually working harder and longer to earn less pay for the same job.

Now have come the big, dazzling computers--and a whole new kind of work for women: programming. Telling the miracle machine what to do and how to do it. Anything from predicting the weather to sending out billing notices from the local department store. 

And if it doesn't sound like woman's work--well, it just is.

("I had this idea I'd be standing at a big machine and pressing buttons all day long," says a girl who programs for a Los Angeles bank. I couldn't have been further off the track. I figure out how the computer can solve a problem, and then instruct the machine to do it."

"It's just like planning a dinner," explains Dr. Grace Hopper, now a staff scientist in systems programming for Univac. (She helped develop the first electronic digital computer, the Eniac, in 1946.) "You have to plan ahead and schedule everything so it's ready when you need it. Programming requires patience and the ability to handle detail. Women are "naturals" at computer programming."

What she's talking about is aptitude--the one most important quality a girl needs to become a programmer. She also needs a keen, logical mind. And if that zeroes out the old Billie Burek-Grace Allen image of femininity, it's about time, because this is the age of the Computer Girls. There are twenty thousand of them in the United (continued on page 54)

While looking for the rest of the article, we found many other related articles reflecting on the past, beginning of coding, gender roles, etc. Some of them include: - study draft not to be circulated yet online

Ret. 12-9-14

Thursday, December 11, 2014

TechSoup - Help for Nonprofits

This may be old news, but explore this website for your own use--how-tos, webinars, reduced prices, and so much more. Tech Soup is available to 501 (c) (3) nonprofits. Agencies can register online and will be able to qualify for certain products based on their mission and services. Our foundation was able to get access to GoToMeeting at a reduced cost through this site.

Ret. 12-9-14

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Changing the Conversation - Engineer Inside You?

Fortuitously at the recent Oklahoma Women in STEM Mentoring Kickoff in Tulsa, we met Barbara Wollmershauser among others. She is a passionate font of knowledge and connector of people and ideas. Thanks to Barbara!

 Changing the Conversation

Changing the Conversation strives to encourage more compelling, 
effective communication to the public about engineering and engineers. The National Engineers Week Foundation has joined forces with the National Academy of Engineering on this national campaign that offers research-based messaging, resources, and simple steps that you can take right away. By changing how we present engineering, we can encourage young people to make a difference in the world through an engineering career. - See more at:

3)  The Is the Engineer Inside You? by Celeste Baine is also available free as a PDF download.  See the home page link below.

Fifteen years ago, while a biomedical engineering student at Louisiana Tech University, Celeste Baine wrote the First Edition of Is There an Engineer Inside You?: A Comprehensive Guide to Career Decisions in Engineering. It was the book that she wished she'd had when she wanted to go to engineering school.

The new Fourth Edition covers 38 different types of engineering and engineering technology, how to succeed in engineering school, women and minorities in engineering, engineering careers that make you say "wow!", salary information and much more. This book has been the #1 engineering career book at Amazon and a high-ranking career guide for over a decade.  It was recently positively peer-reviewed by over 50 engineering and engineering technology professors and is the most comprehensive book on engineering careers in the marketplace.

Across the nation, 30-40 percent of students drop out of engineering each year. Is There an Engineer Inside You? can help. Find out what engineering is all about before you start college.

Why is Award Winning Author Celeste Baine Doing This Book Give Away?

“I am completely committed to making a difference in the world. I think about it before I fall asleep and it gets me out of bed every morning. Engineering school is the best thing I ever did for myself. It enabled me to feel like I leap tall buildings in a single bound, run faster than a steaming locomotive, and have the ability to solve any problem that comes my way.  I do what I do because I think an engineering education can take you anywhere you want to go. It’s a great launching pad for the rest of your life because it will help you in everything that you do and want to do.”  Celeste Baine.

For Your Free Copy go to

Barbara Wollmershauser, P.E.
Tulsa Engineering Foundation Board Member
Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance volunteer

Personal communication, 11-11-14 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Black Girls Code

While searching for organizations that promote learning to code, we found this, too. 'Another inspiration.  

Vision: To increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.

Note: This website states that Black Boys Code is coming soon.

Ret. 12-6-14

Monday, December 8, 2014

Girls Who Code Opportunities

Check out this website for so many opportunities and even more inspiration! We heard about this through Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube. More on her later.

 Women represent 12% of all computer science graduates. 
In 1984, they represented 37% of all computer science graduates. 

 "We have a crush on Girls Who Code!" - GLAMOUR Magazine


Launched in Spring 2012, Girls Who code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors. With support from public and private partners, Girls Who Code works to education, inspire, and equip high school girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in computing fields.

Even after 2015, you will find updated opportunities here. 

Ret. 12-6-14

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Foster Alumni & the Holidays

OSU's Dr. Kerri Kearney shared this with the R is for Thursday network. Read it, and think what you can do in your community.

When There's No Going Home

Susan Kools, RN, PhD, FAAN
The University of Virginia School of Nursing's Madge M. Jones Professor and Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Excellence.
Posted: 11/17/2014 10:51 am EST  Updated: 11/17/2014 10:59 am EST

It's that time of year when many young people head back into the comforting orbit of their parents' home -- home for the holidays, home from college, home from work, back into old rooms, clean laundry and the protection of family, food and familiarity.

But for some young people, there is no going home, not ever. For them, the place just doesn't exist.

And their ranks increase every year, when some 23,000 foster children become too old for our social services system at age 18 without ever having found a secure place to call home.

What happens to this group -- nearly a quarter million individuals over the past decade alone - should concern the lot of us. These are children that we as a society have decided can have a better chance away from their family of origin, but the fact is when they don't have meaningful and sustained social connections during their adolescent years, things don't go well as they emerge into adulthood.
Everyone should know and care about this, because like it or not, we all pay for it. And there are incredible and disquieting costs -- social, financial and human -- as a result.

A Midwest study found that of 600 young adults who'd aged out of the foster care and child welfare system, less than half were employed by age 24 with an annual income of just $8,000. More than a quarter had been homeless. Twenty-five percent had no high school diploma and just six percent had earned either a two- or four-year degree -- educational attainment thought to be the entry ticket for a decent-paying job and a chance at a financially stable life. The majority of these young women and men had already had children and received needs-based government assistance. Forty-two percent of the young men had been arrested and 23 percent had been convicted of a crime.

The costs of aging out of foster care drain our collective, taxpayer-funded coffers, too. The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative found that taxpayers and communities pay roughly $300,000 for the public assistance, incarceration and lost wages for each young person who ages out of the foster care system. That's close to $7 billion spent every year on this group of vulnerable adolescents in the U.S.
With National Adoption Day soon to arrive, we'll hear a lot about American families that generously open their hearts and doors to children in need, as well as heart rending statistics about how many more children are still waiting for a permanent home. But behind the gleam of adoption lies a darker truth about its sister social program, foster care, and the often debilitating results of children who -- most often plucked from their biological families for a host of good reasons -- never find a place to call home, the right kind of support, or a level of stability and constancy and end up 18, on their own, and entirely lost right at the moment when they're supposed to be finding themselves.

These are young people who are bright and open and determined but wholly unprepared for life in ways that the average, family-fortified youth cannot fathom. Without connection to one or two -- or more -- consistent, positive, connected adult role models in their communities, these adolescents will continue to flounder.

It's high time that we understand the lost human capital of this group and be proactive in our approach to to usher them into adulthood -- really, just another three to five years -- the right way.

That means fostering meaningful social connections with supportive adults, facilitating their educational attainment and job training, and providing transitional housing, health and mental health care.

Of course having a family matters. It shapes the raw, malleable stuff in us that lies between our genetic material and our circumstances. But where one's family comes from, and who can comprise it, is truly open and diverse. If we rally to support children aging out of foster care with the kinds of support they need, they will flourish as those with permanent and stable families have had the opportunity to do.

The great Nelson Mandela asserted that "there can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." In our celebration of National Adoption Day, let us not forget society's children -- our children -- those who grow up in foster care.

Susan Kools is the Madge M. Jones Professor of Nursing at the University of Virginia School of Nursing. A long-time advocate of adolescents, she has studied the health and development of adolescents in foster care, and aims to improve the outcomes of young people aging out of foster care.