What is a mentor?
A mentor provides a young person with unconditional friendship, support, and encouragement. Mentors want to help young people in our community reach their full potential. To be a TeamMate is to serve as a beacon of hope.
All young people benefit from the interaction with a positive and successful adult role model in their lives. Over time, mentors help young people build confidence, encourage positive choices, and visualize a bright future.
What exactly does a mentor do?
Mentors give the gift of focused time. To the untrained eye, mentors and mentees may appear to simply be playing a game, shooting hoops, or eating lunch when they meet. An element of fun is involved, but ultimately, mentors watch for and affirm student strengths. They spend time listening and acting as sounding boards for their students.
How much time does it take?
TeamMates meet at school once a week with the goal of 24 visits each school year. Research on mentoring shows that three years is the ideal length of time for mentors and mentees to cement a lasting, impactful relationship. Therefore, TeamMates requests a three-year commitment from mentors. Fortunately, many mentors not only meet this request, they surpass it by staying with their mentee through high school graduation.
What do mentors gain?
The mentor experience is best expressed by mentors themselves:
“It’s rewarding to build a relationship with a child outside my network. It is a great stress reliever to a hectic work week and I feel energized after each session.”
“I’ve become a better listener. I have two young children, and listening to my mentee, I’ve gained perspectives that have made me a better parent.”
Is a mentor expected to act as a tutor?
No. Tutoring experience can be helpful, but if algebra or spelling is not your strength, not to worry! A mentor’s focus should be on the relationship. However, a mentor can help direct a student to school staff who can offer academic assistance when needed.
What are TeamMates students like?
All mentees are unique and come from a variety of backgrounds. What they all share is the desire for a mentor. School staff and parents nominate students or students may self-nominate. Parent or guardian approval is required for participation. TeamMates matches students from third grade through high school in Lincoln public and parochial schools.
Does the age of a mentor matter to students?
Students are excited to have a mentor no matter their age. The most important aspect of the mentor/mentee relationship is the development of trust and respect. Current TeamMates mentors range in age from 18 to 90!
Do I receive training to be a TeamMate?
Yes, mentors attend a three-hour training session before meeting their mentee. Our fun and interactive training addresses policies, activities, concerns, responsibilities, and expectations of the program. Training provides mentors with the tools and the confidence to develop a relationship with their mentee. Support is also provided throughout the school year with monthly newsletters, mentor academies, the TeamMates Handbook for Mentors, and our informative website. School facilitators provide immediate, on-site support to mentors, and of course, the TeamMates staff is always available for guidance.