Mentors get results, but caring about kids is their top priority

Thursday, January 16, 2020

For quite some time now, a standard item on the McCook school board agenda is “positive comments.”

It’s not just a P.R. ploy, although it does virtually guarantee a bit of good news out of each school board meeting. It does, however, force board of education members who might be weary of dealing with problems and complaints, to look for something good to share with themselves and the public.

There’s certainly good news to find connected with one local program. Consider recent national results for students who participate:

85% improve their attendance.

75% had fewer behavioral incidents

54% saw an increase in their course performance

Those are simply side effects of the TeamMates program, founded by Tom and Nancy Osborne, and carried on by thousands of volunteers who just care about kids and want to help.

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.

The TeamMates Mentoring Program serves more than 10,000 youth in more than 170 communities across Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, South Dakota and Iowa.

“We are grateful for every TeamMates mentor,” TeamMates Executive Director Sarah Waldman explained. “Every TeamMates mentor I speak with talks about how mentoring has been an incredibly positive experience for them. I hope more caring adults will join us so they too can experience the positive impact of mentoring.”

There’s always a waiting list of kids who could use a mentor. If you think you might want to get involved, contact Hannah Miller at Hannah@teammates.org or Janae Solomon at jsolomon@mccookbiso.org or 308-344-4532.

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