A celebration of the TeamMates mentoring program in Nebraska City on Wednesday, Jan. 17, aimed to keep up momentum, encourage participation and thank all of those who have made the one-to-one school based mentoring program a success in the local school system.
DeMoine Adams, former Cornhusker football player and program director for the TeamMates program, was in Nebraska City for a fundraising pancake supper at the First Lutheran Church on Wednesday night.
Tom Osborne, former coach of the Cornhusker football team, and his wife, Nancy, began TeamMates in 1991 as a support and encouragement program for school age youths.The program matches up adults in the community, mentors, with students, mentees, for weekly visits inside the school environment. Adams said, 27 years after its founding, the program has maintained the same goals.
“The mission is still the same—to impact the world by inspiring youth to reach their full potential through mentoring,” said Adams. “We have a lot of young people here who have potential but they can’t reach their full potential if they don’t have positive role models.”
January, which is recognized nationally as mentoring month, seems like a great time to highlight the work that TeamMates performs.
“I am here to thank our current mentors but also to push more adults to volunteer their time to become a mentor so we can have more youths who will be winners in school and out of school.”
Through the process of building a relationship with an adult who is neither a teacher or parent, mentees have a sounding board and an extra push toward success.
Meetings between mentors and mentees last between 30 to 45 minutes per week, but those sessions, Adams said, have a huge impact on the mentee.
And the mentoring program pairs well with the existing support structure for the student. Adams was mentored in his youth and credits the experience for his success as an adult.
“I was able to reach my full potential because of the teamwork between the parents, the community and the school,” Adams said.
Who is eligible to participate in TeamMates?
Adams said the program may have been directed to at-risk youth originally, but now welcomes all students who want to build their character and leadership skills and prepare themselves for a promising future.
The mentee isn’t the only one who benefits. Adams said mentorship allows adults an opportunity to give back and to build up their community.
Involvement in TeamMates also honors the legacy of Coach Osborne. Many Husker fans have great reverence for the former Husker coach because of the program that he built and the success his teams had on the field.
Adams said that TeamMates is Coach Osborne’s team off the field, and that, by participating in TeamMates, fans of the coach could honor his legacy.
The TeamMates program has over eight thousand participants overall and is aiming for 50 participants in Nebraska City.
In addition to helping school age youths, the TeamMates program is also expanding its reach to college age kids. Some mentors who develop relationships with kids during their school years will be given the option of continuing to mentor the student in college.
Adams said the college program has had a major impact. With 200 participants already, the TeamMates college program, known as TeamMates Plus, has freshman college kids returning for thier second year of college at an over 90 percent rate as opposed to the national average of 68 percent.