After 30 years, TeamMates now mentors kids in five states

After 30 years, TeamMates now mentors kids in five states


Season’s greetings! January is National Mentoring Month, and our cover features TeamMates mentors (front, from left) Ann Diers, vice president and associate general counsel at Ameritas; Dr. Vann Price, supervisor of secondary personnel services for Lincoln Public Schools; (back, from left) Nate Lowry, software developer with Silverhawk Aviation; Grant Rogers, video/graphic designer for Nelnet; and Jim Bennett, coordinator of TeamMates Mentoring of Lincoln.

These individuals from diverse backgrounds share their stories about how being a TeamMates mentor has been mutually rewarding for both them and their mentees as part of this month’s cover stories. Overall, TeamMates high school graduation rates are in the 95% range – far above the statewide average of 80%. Three-fourths of all mentees qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.

Mentors express benefits such as building positive relationships, acting as sounding boards and developing better listening skills.

Nearly three decades since Dr. Tom and Nancy Osborne started TeamMates in 1991, the program has expanded to form 170-plus chapters in five states. See more details in Dennis Buckley’s cover stories on pages 16-17.

We thank Justin Wan of the Lincoln Journal Star for shooting this month’s cover photo.

Getting around town

‘Tis the season for fun fundraisers. A record 450 guests attended the Tails ‘N Ties benefit dinner, raising $122,000 for the Capital Humane Society. The event included pets available for adoption showcased on stage by local TV news personalities. Bob Downey announced at the event that he will retire in June 2020 after 35-plus years as president and CEO. See my story and photos on pages 10-11.

The Starry Nights Festival and Gala raised over $100,000 for the People’s City Mission. The three-day event wrapped up Dec. 1 with the “Under the Northern Lights” Gala that included a live auction of the designer-decorated trees. See my festival coverage on pages 8-9.

And speaking of starry nights, the inaugural Zoo Lights Powered by LES event at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo has been drawing an average attendance of 1,590 guests each night, five nights a week, to see this display of 250,000 LED lights. Zoo Lights includes a 34-foot Christmas tree, lit animal silhouettes, tree canopy light walk, 60-foot light tunnel walk, 40-foot dancing light tree, a giant ornament “sparkle globe” that has become a popular family photo backdrop, s’mores and cocoa stations, and more. See my article and my son John’s photos on pages 6-7.

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