Staci and Haileigh

October 2017 TeamMates of the Month: Gaining Confidence to Try New Things

Haileigh, a senior mentee at Northeast High School, has a clear vision for her future, and it doesn’t include knitting. Last year Haileigh and her mentor, Staci Hass, spent an entire semester trying to learn how to knit. They may have been unsuccessful in completing a single knitting project, but they shared a lot of laughs and had fun in the process. They consider their failed attempt at knitting to be one of their favorite memories together as mentor and mentee, but have since realized they are more suited for puzzles instead of knitting.

Staci began meeting with Haileigh when she was in 8th grade at Mickle Middle School. Staci was familiar with TeamMates and decided to become a mentor after a learning opportunity at her former place of employment, Allstate. She knew she could manage the time commitment and has always enjoyed volunteering for organizations that benefit children. “I was drawn to the fact that it’s a good way to have a one on one connection.”

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Haileigh nominated herself to be a TeamMates mentee.

“I tried other programs similar to TeamMates and then I found that TeamMates was a better fit for my schedule. I wanted that person I could rely on and that could help guide me in the direction I wanted to go.”

She has always wanted a career in the medical field and intends on studying Nursing at UNO or UNK. Right now she is busy applying for scholarships and scheduling campus tours. She appreciates having Staci on her side during the process. “I have an idea of where I want to go, but the extra push of guidance, that push of confidence and the second opinion is always nice.”

Haileigh enjoys participating in extracurricular activities like speech, theater, musicals, and Rocket Crew. She credits her mentor with giving her the courage to try new things and partake in different activities. Before her time in TeamMates, Haileigh admits “I wasn’t as open. I wasn’t as willing to try things, but now I don’t care. I’m out there. I do everything. I try to make everyone’s day because I realize someone might have a bad day, and I might be the only one to make it. So I just put myself out there.”

Haileigh is gaining leadership skills while she’s in TeamMates. Haileigh says she now has “the confidence to lead my school and different groups. I’m able to just be comfortable if something goes bad because I’ll always have someone to talk to about it.” She willingly takes on a great deal of responsibility and is using her leadership skills to influence others. She is the co-founder of Always in Uniform, a student committee which stresses the importance of being drug and alcohol free. There are posters all over Northeast to remind fellow students of the group’s mission. Members of Always in Uniform also make presentations for middle school students. “I feel like a lot of kids don’t understand the consequences of drugs, so I am going to be the one to tell them.”

Staci is proud of everything Haileigh has accomplished and how much she’s grown in the five years they’ve been meeting. “She’s a really great kid. You hear so many bad stories, so to sit down every week with a really good kid who has goals, and wants to learn, and is a leader, and helps her family, it makes you feel good.” But there is one lesson Staci is still trying to teach Haileigh. “I try to remind her to have fun when she can.”