February 2024 TeamMates of the Month: That’s What Friends Do
Like many boys his age, third-grade Jada was interested in planets and dinosaurs. His TeamMates mentor Doug noticed something else about Jada right away.
“He’s good at solving problems. I noticed that early, in 3rd or 4th grade, that he was good at thinking things through and solving things.”
Jada uses those problem-solving skills when they play chess, a game his dad introduced him to. He says Doug has taught him a lot about the game, but he would change one rule.
“A pawn should be able to move backwards!”
“Sometimes we have to remind each other which way the pieces can move!”
Both TeamMates mark two years as about the time that things really shifted to being a true friendship. Doug explains.
“I could tell he was telling me more things about his life and so I shared more too. When we are at the TeamMates Recognition banquet, my wife will meet him and I think that’s great.”
Jada describes Doug as funny, respectful and smart.
“He’s funny. Ha ha funny. He tries to put a 2 on a “Draw 2” when we play UNO and that’s not how it works.”
Doug admits he does “mess with” Jada at times to get a laugh out of him.
“That’s what friends do.”
Jada also appreciates the experience that Doug brings to their friendship.
“When we have a problem or something we need to do, Doug knows some stuff.”
They still play games of course, and spend time outside, but they also talk about football and other subjects like friends do. And Doug is someone Jada can depend on.
“I never wondered if Doug would keep coming when I went to middle school. When I go to high school, I think he’ll follow me there too. If I moved out of Lincoln, maybe then he wouldn’t.”
Doug chuckles. “Yeah. That might be tricky.”
Sometimes, a mentor is a connector. Last year, Doug saw an opportunity for Jada to get a bike.
“My son worked at a bicycle shop where they repair bikes and donate them. I told Jada about it and he went down there and got a bike and a helmet.”
Doug sees something in Jada’s future that Jada probably hasn’t thought about as a seventh grader.
“ I can see Jada being the mentor some day. I can see that in him.”