What is a mentor?
A mentor is a safe adult friend who provides a young person with unconditional support and encouragement. Mentors want to help young people reach their full potential. To be a TeamMate is to serve as a beacon of hope.
All young people benefit from positive and successful adult role models in their lives. Over time, mentors help young people build confidence, embrace positive choices, and visualize a bright future.
What exactly does a mentor do?
Mentors give the gift of focused time. They spend time listening and acting as sounding boards for their mentees. To the untrained eye, mentors and mentees may appear to simply be coloring, playing a game, or shooting hoops when they meet. An element of fun is involved, but ultimately, mentors watch for and affirm strengths.
How much time does it take?
TeamMates meet at school once a week with the goal of 24 visits each school year. Research shows that three years is the ideal length of time for mentors and mentees to cement a lasting, impactful relationship. Fortunately, many mentors not only meet this commitment, 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. 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 mentees like?
Mentees are unique young people who come from a variety of backgrounds. What they 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 a mentee?
Young people are excited to have a mentor of any age. Current TeamMates mentors range in age from 18 to 90. The development of trust and respect is the most important aspect of the TeamMates relationship.
Do I receive training to be a TeamMate?
Yes, mentors receive three-hours of fun and interactive training before meeting their mentee. Training provides mentors with the tools and the confidence to develop a safe and sustainable relationship with their mentee. Support is also provided throughout the school year with monthly newsletters, mentor academies, the TeamMates Mentor Handbook and our informative website. School facilitators offer immediate, on-site support to mentors, and of course, the TeamMates staff is always ready to brainstorm and offer guidance.