New Mentoring Program Set To Launch in Clay County Schools

By Trish Svoboda

A new mentoring program called TeamMates is set to launch in Clay County schools in early October.

The mission of the program is to inspire students to achieve their full potential and to positively impact the world.

The TeamMates Mentoring Program began in 1991. It was the vision of University of Nebraska Head Football Coach Tom Osborne and his wife Nancy. It started with twenty-two football players serving as mentors for twenty-two middle school students in Nebraska’s Lincoln Public Schools. Since then, the program has grown and now serves thousands of kids across the Midwest. The Clay County Chapter is one of 15 chapters in Kansas.

The pilot program in Clay County will include grades 3rd-8th, and will add 9th-12th, as well as Wakefield 3rd-12th next year. Mentors must be 18 or older with a High School Diploma or equivalent.

Though still in the early stages, there have already been around 12 people to apply to serve as mentors, and 6 kids apply for mentees in Clay Center. Mentors commit to 30 to 60-minute-long weekly meetings with mentees at school, with the goal of 24 meetings per school year. At the meetings, matches can work on crafts, play games, or even just talk.

Lisa Last, Clay Center County Program Coordinator, said in the future they hope to plan special activities, such as a community service project, or a trip to a K-state game. In the meantime, they plan to host DeMoine Adams, TeamMates CEO, for pep rallies to get kids excited about the program.

Mentees can be nominated by a parent, school staff member, or may self-nominate. More than half of all mentees are self-nominated. There is no deadline for when mentors or mentees can apply. Lisa said that they hope to continually add mentors and mentees to the program throughout the school year.

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