The Stovers make a “Big, Little” impact

A Tulsa family’s involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters comes full circle.



Kristine Stover and her Little Sister, Jaylan, have been paired through Big Brothers Big Sisters for the past five years. Stover has been involved with BBBS in various capacities over the past 20 years. Next month, she will be recognized with the organization’s Matt Burtelow Award.

More than 50 people are overflowing the small upstairs meeting space inside McNellies. A man is speaking to the crowd about his experiences as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma.

Just outside the room is a registration form to receive more information about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister. Potential volunteers are lined up to provide their information.

Among the organizers on hand are Kristine Stover and her son, Kohl. They both serve on the organization’s Big Development Committee, which organizes recruiting events like this one.

In 2017, the organization served 1,084 children throughout Oklahoma’s seven state offices. In Tulsa, they served 347 children. BBBS Oklahoma has a 2018 goal to pair 100 new mentors with a Little in the Tulsa area. There are currently 130 ready-to-be-matched children awaiting a mentor.

Although Kristine and Kohl are both recent additions to the Big Development Committee, their involvement with the organization goes back two decades. For Kristine it started by contributing at fundraising events, and for Kohl it began as a Little Brother.

Tragedy leads to lifelong connections for the Stover family

In 1998, Kristine’s husband died, leaving her with two young boys. She had no family nearby and became concerned about the lack of a male mentor in her sons’ lives. Two years later, a lunch discussion resulted in a life-changing opportunity for the Stover family.

“One of my best girlfriends and I were at lunch talking about it, and she suggested I get them Big Brothers,” Kristine recalls. “I asked, ‘Is that for my kids? They’re not troubled kids.’ She said, ‘They’re there for kids who need to be mentored.’ She talked to a friend who was on the board, and that afternoon I got a call about it. I knew it was a great organization, so I agreed.”

Kristine watched her boys develop strong relationships with their Bigs and thrive in life. Logan, her eldest son, got paired with a Big Brother, Tucker, who dragged him out of bed at 6:30 every Saturday morning to play basketball. The pair are still close even though Logan now lives in Plano, Texas.

Logan and Tucker

Then

Now

Logan Stover and his Big, Tucker Tucker and his Little, Logan Stover, today.

 

Kohl had a Big Brother who graduated and moved away after two years. He was then paired with another Big Brother, Chad Morrison, who has stayed by the younger Stover’s side to this day.

“As I grew up, I realized how much it has positively impacted me,” says 25-year-old Kohl, who works as an associate advisor for a financial services consulting company. “It was great to see how hard- working he was. He was always there to talk about stuff that I didn’t want to talk about with my mom. He inspired me and motivated me. His impact is greater than he’ll ever realize.”

Kristine Stover gets involved with BBBSOK

It didn’t take long for Kristine to understand how much those volunteers helped shape her sons’ lives, and she wanted to repay the organization that made it possible, so she joined the board of directors.

During her time working with BBBS Oklahoma, Kristine has chaired the annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake and Taste of Tulsa, she has served two six-year terms on the board and chaired it, and five years ago she became a Big Sister for the first time.

It’s the day after the recruiting event, and Kristine is visiting the BBBS Oklahoma offices in downtown Tulsa. Talk turns to her Little Sister, Jaylan, and she begins glowing. Kristine grabs her phone and pulls up a photo album showcasing their many adventures. There are photos of haircuts, movie dates, birthday celebrations, Turkey Mountain hikes, annual gingerbread houses and more spanning ages 8-13. In every picture the young girl’s smile is beaming.

Kristine Stover and her Little Sister, Jaylan, have been paired through Big Brothers Big Sisters for the past five years. In that time, the two have spent time hiking, dining, watching movies and making gingerbread houses.

“I never looked at myself as becoming a Big because I was a single mom raising two kids,” Kristine says. “I had no business mentoring. Then eventually I remarried and the kids went off to college. I was an incoming board chair, and I thought ‘I still don’t have a Little. I should probably do this.’” Kristine’s husband, Mick Walsh, became a Big a couple years before her.

Kristine shares stories about the challenges in her Little’s life. She says the two have spent a lot of time talking about the young girl’s potential and the opportunities she will have if she stays dedicated to chasing her dreams. Just recently, Kristine was checking the teen’s Facebook account and saw something that provided more encouragement she’s doing the right thing.

“She wrote, ‘I’m going to be different. I’m going to graduate high school. I’m going to have a career then I’m going to get married and have kids.’ She is listening occasionally,” says Kristine with a laugh. “It’s going to get tougher for her as she enters her teenage years. I have five years left with her to help keep her on that path.”

Kristine's impact on the organization is recognized

If you mention Kristine’s name to anyone in the BBBS Oklahoma office, they are ready to gush about her personality and her efforts.

Holly Stewart is the longest-tenured employee in the office with nearly a decade of service to the organization. She has worked closely with Kristine throughout that time and says the amount of good the former board chairwoman has accomplished has been unrivaled.

“She’s very passionate about anything she does, and she’s a true believer in our mission, which means you’re going to get a lot from her,” Holly says. “She’s a great advocate for our organization and continues to do a tremendous job.”

Chase Mowery is the Tulsa community engagement coordinator for BBBS Oklahoma. When he joined BBBS nearly three years ago, Kristine had just completed her term as board chairwoman, so Chase only knew about her through talk amongst the staff. He needed to fill his Big Development Committee, so he went to Holly for advice.

“I was looking for a go-getter, who had a passion for the program and somebody who could help me recruit volunteers through connections, but really through passion,” Chase says. “Holly instantly said Kristine is who I needed to call. I reached out to her, and she immediately agreed.

“Next thing I know, she has recruited Kohl and his Big, Chad. Half the people on the Big Development Committee are there because of Kristine. That’s amazing. She brought the passion and the power, and we’re already seeing the results.”

A well-deserved honor

At Taste of Tulsa on June 14, Kristine will receive the Matt Burtelow Award, given annually to honor an individual whose contributions of time, energy and/or resources have promoted the idea of adult-child mentoring in a significant way.

When Matthew Morton, Tulsa-area director for BBBS Oklahoma, informed Kristine that she’s this year’s recipient, he says it marked the first time he had witnessed her at a loss of words.

“The impact Kristine has made on Big Brothers Big Sisters in Tulsa has changed thousands of lives, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the award,” Morton says. “She has dedicated her life to making sure BBBS serves every single child in Tulsa who needs one-to-one mentoring.”

For Kristine, being the recipient of the Matt Burtelow Award continues to baffle her.

“It’s a huge honor. For 20 years I’ve watched big ‘community people’ do amazing things for the organization. I just don’t think of myself as that,” Kristine says, choking back tears. “I’m just doing what I can. I’ve got a lot of energy, and I really don’t work full time anymore, so this is a great way to keep busy and help a great organization.”

The Stovers complete the mentorship cycle

While she is honored to win the award, Kristine’s proudest moment to date occurred when she received a call from Kohl that brought everything full circle for the family.

“He called to tell me he had an interview to become a Big, and I had no idea,” she says. “I knew both my boys wanted to do it someday and give back because they had so much fun with their Bigs. Logan has a child of his own, so now’s not the right time for him. I’m really proud of Kohl for doing it. He will be great.”

For the past four months, Kohl has been a Big Brother to Grant. He acknowledges his Big Brother’s and his mother’s positive influences that helped inspire him to become a Big. Being on the other side has already taught him a lot, including how easy it is to mentor a young person.

“Just go be dudes. That’s all you have to do,” Kohl says. “You don’t feel like you’re making a big impact. You don’t realize how much just chatting can help someone. I know how much Chad means to me, and I hope I can do that for my Little.”

Kohl and Chad

Then

Now

Kohl Stover and his Big, Chad Morrison Kohl Stover and Chad Morrison, today.

 

There is a major need for mentors in Tulsa. A person only has to be 18 to participate in school-based mentoring. Those who want to do community-based mentoring must be at least 21 and have a car, a driver’s license and insurance. Currently the oldest mentor in Tulsa is 77.

Kristine says her work is far from done. She’s going to do everything she can to ensure every waiting child has a Big. For those on the fence, Kristine has a message.

“It’s the power that one person can have on someone who doesn’t have anybody they can depend on regularly,” Kristine says. “Just having someone that’s there for them 100 percent without distractions for one hour a week can positively change a life.

“I’ve seen it as a mother, as a board member and as a Big. I’ve seen what good it does for kids.”


June 14 — Taste of Tulsa: Today’s Littles, Tomorrow’s Next Big Thing

6:30 p.m. Cox Business Center, 100 Civic Center. $250, tickets. nextbigthingtulsa.org

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More information

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More information

Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

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View map »


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More information

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910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
Website »

More information

Looking for a way to exercise your mind and body while having fun?  Laughter Yoga may be just what you're looking for.  This popular new class is low-impact and requires no special...

Cost: Free

Where:
LIFE Senior Services
5950 E. 31st St.
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: LIFE Senior Services
Telephone: (918) 664-9000
Contact Name: Emily Fox

More information

Signified by the balance between day & night, the Autumn Equinox serves as an opportunity to retreat from the harried pace of life, reflect upon that which is coming to an...

Cost: $375

Where:
The Ofi House
34477 S 502 Rd.
Park Hill, OK  74451
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Sponsor: YogaQuest
Telephone: (918) 622-5454
Contact Name: Dee Anne Day
Website »

More information

Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
20 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Telephone: (918) 565-9404
Contact Name: Katie
Website »

More information

Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
20 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »


Telephone: (918) 565-9404
Contact Name: Katie
Website »

More information

Teachers and administrators can ring in the school year with a sweet deal.   Every Sunday thru Thursday in September, a school ID will get teachers and administrators a half-priced Four...

Cost: 1/2 priced Four-Course Classic

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
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Telephone: 918-299-8000
Website »

More information

Women Artists of the West (WAOW) presents the 48th Annual Juried Exhibition, "Tallgrass Rendezvous", for the first time in OK!  WAOW is the oldest juried women artists organization...

Cost: Free Reception

Where:
Price Tower Art Center
510 S. Dewey Ave
Bartlesville, OK  74003
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Sponsor: Women Artists of the West
Telephone: 918-494-5994
Contact Name: Helen F. Howerton, Publicity Chair
Website »

More information

Join the Tulsa chapter of the American Cancer Society as “Hope Takes Flight” at the 2018 Cattle Baron’s Ball. This year’s event promises to soar with an aviation themed...

Cost: $200/ticket

Where:
Christiansen Aviation, Jones Riverside Airport
8605 S Elwood Ave
Tulsa, OK  74132
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Sponsor: American Cancer Society Tulsa chapter
Contact Name: Erin Cole
Website »

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Cost: Walk: $10; Run: $20

Where:
OneOK Field
201 N Elgin Ave.
Tulsa, OK, OK  74120
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Sponsor: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Telephone: 405-541-9252
Contact Name: Ricky Cabello
Website »

More information

The Green Country Watercolor Society welcomes all to its opening reception 6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, featuring beautiful works from local artists. The Green Country Watercolor Society was...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
Website »

More information

Tulsa's River Parks Authority is pleased to announce the return of Monarchs on the Mountain, a festival celebrating the vital role Eastern Oklahoma plays in the Monarch Butterfly migration will...

Cost: Free

Where:
Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area
6850 S. Elwood Ave
Tulsa, OK  74132
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Sponsor: Tulsa Riverparks Authority
Telephone: 918-596-2008
Contact Name: Ryan Howell

More information

Artist T. C. Cannon was both a Vietnam War veteran and a member of the Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society. At this special event, join us in honoring both T.C. Cannon and the many veterans and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Gilcrease Museum
1400 N Gilcrease Museum Rd
Tulsa, OK  74127
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More information

The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association presents the OSSAA State High School Cheerleading Competition. Join us on September 22nd and support your favorite team!

Cost: $ 7.00

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »

More information

Looking for a way to exercise your mind and body while having fun?  Laughter Yoga may be just what you're looking for.  This popular new class is low-impact and requires no special...

Cost: Free

Where:
LIFE Senior Services
5950 E. 31st St.
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Sponsor: LIFE Senior Services
Telephone: (918) 664-9000
Contact Name: Emily Fox

More information

Signified by the balance between day & night, the Autumn Equinox serves as an opportunity to retreat from the harried pace of life, reflect upon that which is coming to an...

Cost: $375

Where:
The Ofi House
34477 S 502 Rd.
Park Hill, OK  74451
View map »


Sponsor: YogaQuest
Telephone: (918) 622-5454
Contact Name: Dee Anne Day
Website »

More information

Teachers and administrators can ring in the school year with a sweet deal.   Every Sunday thru Thursday in September, a school ID will get teachers and administrators a half-priced Four...

Cost: 1/2 priced Four-Course Classic

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-299-8000
Website »

More information

Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
20 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »


Telephone: (918) 565-9404
Contact Name: Katie
Website »

More information

The Oklahoma Aquarium will celebrate the grand opening of the newest exhibit, The Polynesian Reef, with Luau open to the public. The Polynesian Reef Exhibit will be the second largest exhibit at...

Cost: free

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Dr
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »

More information

Join us to celebrate 15 years of the Oklahoma Aquarium and the opening of our newest exhibit, the Polynesian Reef on September 22, 2018!  The new exhibit will showcase over 70 species of South...

Cost: 15.95

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 S Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Aquarium
Telephone: 918-528-1577
Contact Name: Laura Long
Website »

More information

Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
20 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »


Telephone: (918) 565-9404
Contact Name: Katie
Website »

More information

Batman is coming to Broken Arrow! September 22 is the 4th annual Batman Day. Come in costume and meet some of your favorite characters. There will be a great charity auction full of wonderful items...

Cost: $10

Where:
The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Broken Arr
1400 W Washington
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
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Sponsor: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Broken Arrow
Telephone: 918-258-7545
Contact Name: Wendi Bowman
Website »

More information

The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
View map »


Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
Website »

More information

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TULtalk


Episode 4: Kerry Vincent of Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show

One of the world's most influential cake competitions happens during the Tulsa State Fair, and the event's director, Kerry Vincent of Food Network fame, is here to share the details on the show, as well as her early life growing up in Australia.

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918 Day Discounts

Happy 918 Day, Tulsa! The whole city seems to be celebrating with a host of deals and discounts.

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Fall Arts Guide: September-December 2018

Bright lights. Big city. Tulsa has a plethora of performances this season. Mark your calendars for some new entertainment and returning favorites.

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Episode 3: Chef Kirk Swaby from Gathering Place

In anticipation of the Sept. 8 opening of the historic park, Anna interviews Kirk Swaby about his work as the Gathering Place's Culinary Executive Chef.

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Wizard World and the strange power of celebrity

Kato Kaelin, who has his own complicated relationship with fame, comes to Tulsa to serve as the emcee for a pop culture convention.

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