Mentoring program offers chance to make a difference

Thursday, September 29, 2016

News outlets like ours are proud to report on the achievements of our youth on the school and sports pages, but too many young people, unfortunately, appear in the crime and court reports.

We have a choice to make.

Will we just wring our hands and lament the direction the next generation is headed?

Or will we do something about it?

If you're still reading these words, you're probably a good candidate to take the latter course.

One way you can help is to volunteer to be a TeamMates mentor.

Some thirty students, grades four through 12, in McCook Public Schools and St. Patrick School, are waiting for mentors, according to local TeamMates officials.

In 1991, Coach Tom Osborne felt athletes in his Cornhusker football team could have a positive impact on 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 was formalized in 1998 with 12 chapters, 441 mentor/mentee matches around Nebraska, and has grown to serve more than 7,500 youth through partnerships with local school districts throughout Nebraska and Iowa, recently opening chapters in Kansas and Wyoming.

Darcy Hanson shepherded the local TeamMates program to growing success over recent years, receiving statewide recognition last year for averaging more than 24 individual mentoring sessions per student.

When she and her family moved, Hanson handed leadership duties over to Janae Solomon, who taught English at McCook Junior High before teaching at McCook's LIFT alternative school and becoming a part-time certified counselor for the school system.

Last year, 81 percent of the 67 students being mentored showed academic improvement, 87 percent had fewer disciplinary referrals and 67 percent had fewer unexcused absences.

If you'd like to do your part, call Solomon at McCook High school, (308) 345-5422 or email DberryNebraska@hotmail.com

View 1 comment
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • Please volunteer to be a mentor. Children need you!

    -- Posted by dennis on Fri, Sep 30, 2016, at 9:56 PM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: