Why We Exist
Currently, 22.8% of the children in the greater Oklahoma City area are living at or below the poverty level. Despite this dismal statistic, it is important to recognize that poverty is not the only challenge affecting these precious children. Many of the children attending our programs come from dysfunctional homes, where the traditional picture of a loving, happy family and an innocent childhood rarely exists. Instead, poverty, violence, crime, divorce, alcoholism, prostitution, and drug abuse are a reality in many of their lives.
More than 4,500 children in Oklahoma have a mother in prison. Oklahoma has the highest percentage of incarcerated women in the world. 3% of Oklahoma children have a mother, father, or both in jail.
Involvement of Children with Drugs and Alcohol:
Before the age of 13, 1 in 4 children will drink alcohol and 1 out of every 10 children will try marijuana.
Children in Broken Families:
1 out of every 200 marriages in Oklahoma will end in divorce on average this year. Our state ranks 4th in the nation for marriages ending in divorce.
Abused and Neglected Children:
39 children died from abuse or neglect in the latest recorded year. Each year, 1 in every 100 Oklahoma children is confirmed a victim of abuse or neglect.
Each year, more than 21,000 criminal arrests involve juveniles. Children and youth in Oklahoma account for 1 out of every 7 arrests.
Currently, there are over 4400 gang members in Oklahoma City. The police department has identified 115 confirmed gang sets. Children as young as 8 years old are being recruited into gangs.
School Drop Outs:
An average of 16 high-school students drop out of school each day. Our state’s graduation rate is purportedly just 7 out of every 10 students who should be graduating do.
Almost 2400 babies were born to Oklahoma girls 17 years of age and younger in the latest recorded year. 93 of these new mothers were aged 14 and younger. Only 5 other states have a higher teen birth rate.
A quick glimpse into any of the communities where we serve could reveal many unexpected circumstances and tragic situations. As you walk through one of our average inner-city neighborhoods, you will initially see the undeniable evidences of poverty. However, as you look closer, you will realize there are many broken relationships that are producing a myriad of other needs – academic, social, relational, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
We believe that the children of Oklahoma City – specifically those from under-resourced, inner-city communities – have many needs. Novo helps connect faithful, loving mentors who can address root issues, provide guidance, and help each child realize his or her full potential. Positive relationships with these mentors who facilitate much-needed moral, character, and spiritual development are vital to changing the negative trends and seeing life-change within these communities. Be a part of making a real and lasting difference.