Decade of Difference Celebration

The Decade of Difference event is a new celebration to honor a familiar award: The Decade of Difference. On January 20th, 20 individuals braved the cold to be recognized for their 10 years of service as a TeamMates mentor.

Thanks to the mentors in this year’s group of Decade of Difference recipients, 55 mentees have been supported by an additional caring adult in their lives. On average, one mentor would have contributed about 11,340 minutes of mentoring in 10 years. With these 20 award winners, that adds up to 226,800 impactful mentoring minutes.

Fayth Jackson, Lincoln TeamMates alumna, was present to share a few words during the celebration. She stated, “I thought [college] was pointless to me until I was guided to the right people where they taught me that life was not over for me, and I still had so many positive things ahead of me. Those ‘right’ people were the TeamMates Mentoring Program.” Fayth continued on to share that the support of mentors in her life has been so transformative because there is someone that sees her, hears her, and values her.

“The mentor connection is special. Please continue what you are doing if you can, because the next mentee you might meet may have just lost their father, mother, and brother, and they need you, just like I did.”

Mentor Ramona Rhodes accepting her TeamMates award

Fayth Jackson, TeamMates alumna and student speaker for the event

Mentor Jay Stoa posing with his TeamMates award

Dr. Steve Joel, Superintendent of Lincoln Public Schools, was also on hand to talk about the impact of the TeamMates Mentoring Program. Also a recipient of the Decade of Difference award that evening, Dr. Joel feels his life has been positively impacted just as much as the lives of the students he has been paired with. Though he is retiring after the 2021-2022 school year, he will continue to champion the Lincoln TeamMates program.

The support, consistency, and smiles generated by a mentoring relationship bring lights to everyone involved. Thirty years after its start, TeamMates continues to make a great impact, and that is because of the dedication, consistency, and time these Decade of Difference mentors, and all mentors involved with TeamMates, provide to young people in Lincoln.