For The Children Weekly Column

OK-LEAD Shares Leadership & Education with Youth

February 21, 2022


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – “For the Children” Weekly Column

Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone: (405) 833-1117


I hope each of you had as great an end to the week as I did last week! Each year, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy runs a series of gathering for youth to share different leadership and educational opportunities.

This program, called OK-LEAD, was created a few years ago and allows our team the chance to work with select young Oklahomans and take them to local museums, visit with community and business leaders, learn about important topics, and interact with each other to learn from one another.

In the past, we have developed forums for foster and tribal youth, along with young people who have been appointed by other youth-serving organizations. The program we held last week took a group who served as pages for the Oklahoma Legislature and added on two extra days of activities for the attendees to expand upon what they had already experienced.

We worked with collaborative partners to provide tours of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and the First Americans Museum, along with a visit to Fire Station 1 in Oklahoma City. At each of these stops, the OK-LEADers had the chance to meet and visit with different community leaders, including Michael Armstrong from KOCO-TV, state Rep. Ajay Pittman, and Mariann Lawson from First United Bank.

I want to thank our sponsors for OK-LEAD, which includes the Sarkeys Foundation and Paycom. Without the generosity of individuals and organizations, these opportunities would not be possible.

We look forward to a future endeavor, a collaboration with Oklahoma Farm Bureau, which will reinstitute the old 4-H Club Congress, including both high school 4-H and Future Farmers of America delegates. This “Youth Legislative Experience” will provide the opportunity for the selected students to go to the Oklahoma State Capitol and participate in a mock legislature on July 12 and 13.

Each delegate will be allowed to submit one idea in written format like a bill presented to Legislature. The leadership team for each organization will go through and select the ideas which will be heard by the assembled delegates, and they will have the opportunity to debate, amend and question each proposal.

If you know a 4-Her or an FFA member who might be interested in this conference, please have them reach out to their county leaders or local instructors about details. We look forward to this program becoming a recurring event for these students to learn the process and even consider getting more involved in public service when they are old enough. We also hope that several current and former state elected officials will be a part of this gathering to help inspire these young leaders to engage more in advocacy.

We want to remind you about the invitation we extended in last week’s column to attend our Child Advocacy Chili Cook-off at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Monday, March 21. This event will allow advocates the chance to compete with one another to see who has the best recipe in a friendly setting. The event gives lawmakers the opportunity to meet individuals from these organizations and develop contacts who are experts in their respective fields. Go to to sign up to either be a competitor in the chili cook-off or to attend this event.