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OCU Continues Partnership With Teen Assistance Organization

Oklahoma City University has completed its first year of a partnership with an organization that helps young women, who are under Oklahoma Department of Human Services supervision due to neglect and abuse, succeed in school and work.

Through the partnership, OCU provides participants of the Deborah Rothe Group Home with tutoring services in math and English, invitations to lectures and concerts, and evaluation and assessment services. The Deborah Rothe Group Home, located within a few blocks of the university campus, is a non-profit housing organization for girls who have been wards of the state for many years. The home was founded in 1970 to provide a safe environment for up to eight girls at a time.

Dianne McDaniel, who retired from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division last month after more than 30 years of service, managed the group home. It will now be led by Mahogany Gaines, who earned her psychology degree from OCU.

“The countless opportunities that were afforded the girls was both valuable in terms of building their self-worth, as well as their ability to formulate a dream of gaining a higher education,” McDaniel said.

The charitable organization teaches basic living skills, communication, conflict resolution, money management, goal setting and social skills while providing an emotionally stable and nurturing environment in which to live.

OCU psychology professor Dennis Jowaisas led the efforts to establish the partnership last year and said the university plans to continue helping the organization.

“OCU recognizes the Deborah Rothe Group Home as a neighbor and, as a good neighbor, the Petree College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Psychology intend to provide experiences that these young women might not otherwise have,” Jowaisas said. “Their needs are especially critical in times of decreased state funding for organizations like this, and we believe that the whole community benefits when these young women can get this kind of assistance.”