By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
A number of the students participating in the TeamMates program at Chase County Schools (CCS), along with their mentors, were introduced at the Longhorn-Sutherland basketball game Friday.
There are 17 fifth grade students voluntarily participating in the program, which was initiated in 1991 by former Husker football coach and athletic director Tom Osborne and his wife, Nancy.
TeamMates board president Sheila Stromberger said several more students are going through training and will also be matched with mentors.
The students are paired with volunteer mentors according to interests. Men are matched with boys and women are matched with girls.
The pairs meet once a week at the school throughout the school year. The commitment is until the student graduates from high school.
The purpose of TeamMates is “to positively impact the world by inspring youth to reach their full potential.”
High school counselor Trent Herbert said the school had tried other mentoring programs involving student-to-student, but other school commitments made it hard to be consistent.
He said the school still saw a need for mentoring and chose TeamMates.
The mentors provide extra support and a listening presence for the mentees. They do not take the place of a parent, nor do they solve problems or engage in discipline.
This is the first year CCS has participated in the program.
The mentors and mentees began meeting two weeks ago. During their meeting time they eat lunch, play games, ask each other questions, discuss their lives or choose other activities with which to interact.
Next year a new group of mentees and their mentors will be accepted for the program. Those wishing to become mentors may apply to board members or Herbert.
The program recesses for the summer, although the local TeamMates board may arrange some group activities.
That’s why the board held a raffle recently, and also accepted donations. Proceeds will fund materials and activities in the coming years.
As of last week, the board had raised about $1,200 for the program through the raffle and the sale of food.
At the game last Friday, raffle winners were announced. They are: Danny Russell, Husker flag; Taya Stromberger, Husker flag; Caleb Bubak, Rosenblatt Stadium plate; Troy Hauxwell, Nebraska stadium field turf; Denise Smith, Husker plate; Marilyn Hust, Husker tickets; Carrie Terryberry, Alex Gordon baseball; and Dave Hanna, Tom Osborne football.
Local TeamMates board members are President Sheila Stromberger, Vice President Matt Maxwell, Secretary Steve Lewis, Treasurer Jason Tuller, Trent Herbert, Shannon Waggoner, Char Wallin, Elizabeth Haarberg, Chris Lee, Josh Fries and Ryan Wisnieski.
High school principal Mike Sorensen represents the school on the board.