Mentoring Matters!

Conestoga’s Local TeamMates Chapter Celebrates National Mentoring Month

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January is National Mentoring Month. In the Conestoga School District, many adults team up with youth through the youth mentoring program, TeamMates.

According to Karin Patterson of Blue Valley Behavioral Health, TeamMates mentoring program’s main goal is to positively impact the world by inspiring youth to reach their full potential through mentoring. Mentoring is making an investment in the future. By meeting one time each week with a student and showing an interest in their life, a mentor can increase the likelihood they will graduate from high school and become a contributing member of society. “Mentors help identify the gifts and talents of young people that provide them a sense of hope and vision for their life,” Patterson said.

TeamMates began in 1991 and continues to grow. The idea came from the University of Nebraska Head Football Coach Tom Osborne and his wife Nancy. Coach Osborne felt that the athletes in his program could make an impact on the middle school students, and twenty-two football players began meeting with middle school students in the Lincoln Public Schools. Of the 22 original mentees, 21 went on to graduate from high school while one left school early to pursue a successful Motocross career. Eighteen of the original mentees also obtained some form of post-secondary education. TeamMates now serve thousands of boys and girls across the Midwest, and mentors come from all walks of life. Although the program has changed quite a bit since then, one thing remains the same–mentors just have to be there. It’s that simple.

The Conestoga Mentoring Program was formed three years ago. The program has grown from five mentoring pairs that first year to 20 mentoring pairs this school year. As the TeamMates program continues to grow, they are always on the lookout for adults who would like to make a positive difference in the life of a Conestoga student!

Mentoring matters! By simply showing up, week after week, mentors build on a sense of hope in their mentee. This hopefulness manifests itself in greater confidence, positive feelings about the future, and higher quality of living. A mentor in a young person’s life motivates them to come to school and stay engaged in the learning process.

The TeamMate’s program wants people to get involved during national mentoring month here’s what you could do.
APPLY! Complete our mentor application on https://teammates.org/ and you will be emailed a link to request your background check. TeamMates mentors must be 18 years or older with a high school diploma or equivalent.
TRAIN! A TeamMates representative will reach out to you after receiving your application and background check information. Your 3-hour training will cover everything you need to know about TeamMates from policies and procedures to what to do with your mentee.
MATCH! Mentors and mentees are matched based on hobbies and interests. You and your mentee will meet once a week at school during the academic year. During that time you can play games, do a craft, shoot hoops, or just talk.

We do fundraising to support our local TeamMates chapter and are always open to monetary donations from individuals, groups, or businesses. We are also open to doing presentations in the community about our program. Our local TeamMates Board of Directors meets once a month to take care of the organizational aspect of TeamMates. Our board is comprised of volunteers. If you are interested in becoming a board member or have any questions about the Conestoga TeamMates Program, please call Deb Leffler at 402-235-2341.