WAYNE – As January closed out Thursday, National Mentoring Month shall continue as Wayne Teammates are always welcoming new mentors and mentees.
Teammates of Nebraska is a mentoring program modeled after the original program begun by Tom and Nancy Osborne in 1991. The Wayne program has been active since 2000.
Coordinator of the Wayne program, Shalee Hoffman said adult volunteers go into the school and are matched with a student.
“Where they go in just one-on-one; our goal is that they stick with the student through high school graduation,” said Hoffmann. “They go during a study hall or a lunch hour, they talk, play games, throw a football around. Just whatever fun activity they decide to do for the day.”
Hoffman trains mentors and students along with matching adults while making sure everyone stays connected.
During the application process for the mentor there is a background check along with three references given. Mentees can be nominated by themselves, a school member or a parent.
There are currently 50 matches that continue to grow after kids graduate and come into middle school. Roughly 10 students are waiting for matches that pair men with boys and women with girls.
President of the Advisory Board, Jill Walling has been involved with Teammates since 2003. She added graduating seniors are eligible for a $250 scholarship for four semesters (totaling $1,000).
“Over the years we’ve seen a growth with more and more kids going to post-secondary education, going onto college,” Walling added. “So, it’s very rewarding to be able to help them to fund their education.”
There are 12 board members including Hoffman. Fundraising activities are held in the Spring for those who support the Wayne Teammates program.
Wayne Teammates will be attending a Creighton basketball game on February 17 while in April mentors and mentees will visit Ponca State Park.
Also, Wayne Teammates will be hosting a Friday morning Chamber Coffee in March.