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Mentor program, TeamMates, hopes to inspire youth to meet their full potential

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, NE (KTIV) — Over 28 years ago, former University of Nebraska head football coach Dr. Tom Osborne and his wife Nancy founded the mentorship program known as TeamMates.

According to the program, just one hour a week is all it takes to make a major impact on a student’s life and future.

‘TeamMates’ has helped to serve thousands of boys and girls in over 170 school districts across five states.

Their mission, to impact the world by inspiring youth to reach their full potential.

“I see so many kids in our classrooms, that need some leadership. Someone they can talk to, someone they can vent to. Not just a teacher who asks about their grades and what they are doing.” said Kris Vondrak, TeamMates Mentor and teacher.

Lorrie Akins, the program director at South Sioux City Community Schools, said mentors come into the school once a week and visit with their teammate for an hour.

The teammates usually play board games, indoor sports, do a craft, or just chat.

But Akins said that for these students, just having someone show interest in their life can have a major impact.

“There are stories every day, someone is touched in different ways. Whether it be simple things that will melt your heart, to going onto college and living out their dreams and goals,” said Lorrie Akins, TeamMates Program Director in South Sioux City.

Akins said they always have students waiting to be matched with a mentor and are always looking for new volunteers.

“Being a mentor does not take a lot of time. And it has really been rewarding to make a difference to somebody else,” said Vondrak.

Vondrak said as a teacher, she has seen many improvements with the kids involved in TeamMates.

Last year alone over 10,000 students were matched with mentors across Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Wyoming and South Dakota.

TeamMates has many chapters at different schools around Siouxland.

If you are interested in volunteering to be a mentor, you can go to the TeamMates Mentoring website to learn more.

Leslie London

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