NewsOn6.com

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa's mayor is taking the city's mentoring program to a whole new level.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett and his wife announced the Tulsa County Mentoring Coalition to children at Hamilton Middle School Thursday morning.

They're hoping with this new push, they can get more adults to become mentors and reach more kids, helping them succeed in life.

"We're dedicated to making certain they have the best opportunity that they can have available to them to improve their lives and become productive citizens and most importantly, in my view, to get a - have a good career, have a good job, stay in Tulsa and spend money and create sales taxes." Mayor Bartlett said.

Studies show mentoring a child can cut down on the number of dropouts.

In 2008, Tulsa County's average high school dropout rate was 17.5 percent.  The following is a breakdown of high school dropout rates by school districts for 2008.

  • Tulsa Public Schools – 25.1 percent
  • Union Public Schools – 19.4 percent
  • Owasso Public Schools – 17 percent
  • Broken Arrow Public Schools- 17.2 percent

Mentors are needed not only for elementary-age children, but teens too.

"I want someone to talk with too," one 17-year-old said. "Right now, my prayers don't go any higher than the ceiling."

According to the Alliance For Excellent Education, cutting the number of dropouts by 50 percent in the Tulsa area in 2008 would have increased the state and local tax revenue as much as $3 million during the average year, due to higher wages and spending.

A 1995 study of mentoring showed children who were mentored were 46 percent less likely to being using illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to being using alcohol, and 52 percent less likely to skip school.

If you are interested in getting involved in the Tulsa County Mentoring Coalition, you can call 211. All you have to do is request the age range of a child you'd like to mention and times you are available. For more information, check out mentoringtulsa.org.