You can be part of making a difference in children’s lives

As another school year nears, the future of the children in our community is on many people’s minds. Even those of us whose children have graduated from Chase County Schools (CCS) still care about the youths in this community.
    Would you be willing to contribute 30-45 minutes a week during the school year to positively affect the future of one of those children? If so, TeamMates may be for you.
    The TeamMates program at CCS is starting its fourth year this fall. There are now 67 matched adults with a school-aged student who meet weekly just to share time, eat lunch and talk.
    That may not mean much in the scope of our busy lives, but it should—that time away from the rush, sharing one-on-one with another human being, especially a developing one, is becoming lost in our social media-obsessed society.
    Statistics show that this extra time together can be so beneficial to the young person. So much so that national statistics show students in mentoring programs like TeamMates have a 91 percent graduation rate (compared to 83 percent nationally).
    Locally, school administrators are seeing fewer disciplinary referrals and unexcused absences among TeamMate mentees. And, surveys here show that students believe their mentors really care about them and can be trusted.
    TeamMates board members here have worked hard at the program and emphasize that quality matches are the goal because it’s all about building relationships. Who knows how another positive relationship in a child’s life will affect their future?
    Right now, there are at least 14 CCS students waiting for an adult to be matched with them in the TeamMates program. Could that positive relationship in the future of one of them be you?
    From the sounds of it, the students aren’t the only ones benefitting from the matches. I have heard many mentors say they are the ones who gain the most from that new young friend.
    Here’s what one TeamMates graduate elsewhere in Nebraska wrote to her mentor: “Every single day, I become more confident in myself because I know you believe in me. I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for you.”
    It’s no secret legendary Husker Coach Tom Osborne and his wife Nancy started TeamMates with a small group of his football players at UNL. It’s now operating throughout Nebraska and in other states, affecting so many lives in a positive way.
    Why not be part of that effort to make a difference?

The Imperial Republican

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