The TeamMates Mentoring Program began with the vision of University of Nebraska Head Football Coach Tom Osborne and his wife Nancy in 1991. That year twenty-two football players met with middle school students in Lincoln Public Schools. Coach Osborne felt that the athletes in his program could make an impact on the academic success of these middle school students. Of those 22 original mentees, 21 graduated from high school and 18 went on to graduate from post-secondary programs.
Increasing the Impact
In 1997, TeamMates expanded to include 160 volunteer mentors from the Lincoln community. They met with their students for one hour a week in the school setting. Those volunteers gave their time with the belief that these students could benefit from another caring adult in their life.
The TeamMates Mentoring Program went on to be formalized as a statewide program in 1998 with 12 chapters and 441 mentor/mentee matches and The Program continues to grow. Today, TeamMates includes more than 140 chapters and serves more than 8,000 students from grades 3-12.
In partnership with Lincoln Public Schools, the Lincoln chapter of TeamMates includes over 1,200 students from every corner of the city.
The program matches a student with an adult volunteer mentor to provide one hour of individual mentoring each week during the school year. Activities during the mentoring hour range from homework assignments to sharing common interests to simply engaging in conversation. No matter how they choose to spend their time, matches in the TeamMates Mentoring Program of Lincoln continue to carry on the tradition of success set over 25 years ago.