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New year offers new opportunities to make a difference
My grandpa notes the world’s worn cogs
And says we are going to the dogs!
His grandpa in his house of logs
Swore things were going to the dogs.
His dad among the Flemish bogs
Vowed things were going to the dogs.
The cave man in his queer skin togs
Said things were going to the dogs.
But this is what I wish to state
The dogs have had an awful wait.
The poem, attributed to Jeannette H. Walworth, acknowledges pessimism but expresses an optimism all of us could use as we head into a new year.
It’s one thing to just hope for better things to come, but another to do something to make things better, for ourselves and future generations.
There’s no better way to work toward a better future than investing time with youth, especially those who could use encouragement from a caring adult.
One way is through the McCook TeamMates mentoring program, the local chapter of an organization established by Nebraska coaching legend Tom Osborne and his wife, Nancy.
It’s a worthwhile program, according to hard data collected locally and submitted to the Gallup Corp. for compiling.
For the 2016-17 year, 86 percent of student mentees had fewer absences; 78 percent had fewer disciplinary referrals and 45 percent had improved grades.
Nearly half of the participants said they were very active in school or community groups, while 32 percent said they rarely participate.
The mission of the TeamMates Mentoring Program is to affect the world by inspiring youth to reach their full potential.
TeamMates serves nearly 8,000 youth in more than 150 communities across Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas and Iowa.
Mentors meet with their mentees one-on-one in school, once a week during the academic year.
Mentees can be nominated by a parent, a school staff member or by themselves. Mentors are not tutors, counselors, nor are they there to “fix” anything — they’re there to be friends.
Mentors are matched with mentees based on interests and life experiences.
There is plenty of opportunity to help improve those numbers. There are 71 current matches, but nearly three dozen children still need a mentor.
To volunteer to become a mentor, contact Janae Solomon, Program Coordinator, at (308) 344-4532 or Dennis Berry, TeamMates President at DberryNebraska hotmail.com.
To celebrate National Mentoring Month, TeamMates mentors and mentees will be able to attend the McCook Community College basketball games, at 1 and 3 p.m., on Sunday at the Graff Events Center. It would be a good time to find out more about the program and enjoy some great college basketball at the same time.