SCOTTSBLUFF — TeamMates of Scotts Bluff County has been awarded a grant from United Way of Western Nebraska.

TeamMates is a school-based mentoring program for third through 12th grade students in Scotts Bluff County.

According to a press release from TeamMates, the organization currently has mentors and mentees in Scottsbluff Public Schools, Gering Public Schools and Mitchell Public Schools.

“The money awarded by United Way of Western Nebraska will help support the general program of our local TeamMates Chapter,” Mary Kay Haun, of TeaMMates of Scotts Bluff County said.

TeamMates partners a student with a volunteer adult mentor, who meet weekly. Mentors are volunteers from the community who are dedicated to making a difference in student’s lives. In addition to the weekly mentoring meetings, the organization provides group activities for mentors and students. Activities that have occurred in the past include taking a tour of WNCC, attending sporting events at WNCC and Chadron State, sponsoring a holiday party and scavenger hunt at Legacy of the Plains Museum, attending the Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet, as well as other celebrations throughout the year.

The TeamMates of Scotts Bluff County chapter utilizes the Gallup Strengths Finder assessment which allows mentors and students to focus on their strengths in their weekly meetings. The chapter offers post-secondary scholarship opportunities for graduates.

“We feel this confirms to our students that we believe in their futures,” Haun said.

Making and supporting mentor/mentee matches involves screening, training, monitoring and support. Statistics gathered tor TeamMates show that a student with a mentor is less likely to be absent from school and less likely to be a disruption at school. The biggest indicator that sets TeamMates apart from other mentoring programs is the “sense of hope’” that mentees state they have after meeting with their mentor.

Haun said, “This adds up to an increased likelihood of graduating from high school, which can have a rippling, positive effect on the community. TeamMates mentor/mentee matches provide a strong connection between community leaders and the school system, which benefits both.”

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