A hug and a ‘thank you’: TeamMates honors volunteers during National Mentoring Month

TeamMates coordinator Molly Morales, right, hugs Cheryl Hall, an administrative assistant at North Platte High School, Tuesday. Morales delivered signs and gifts to mentors throughout the school to celebrate National Mentoring Month.

Smiles filled the classrooms as TeamMates coordinator Molly Morales spread cheer on Tuesday morning.

January is National Mentoring Month, and Morales spent the morning doling out gifts to mentors throughout North Platte High School. A yard sign, T-shirt and a free lunch from Sodexo brightened the day for the volunteers.

“We just like to thank our mentors for giving their time and mentoring the youth in our community,” Morales said. “In 2019, 89% of the mentors in our program reported that they left their mentoring time in a better mood than when they arrived. They also reported that they get as much, if not more, out of the mentoring experience by being with their mentee every week.”

Morales said there are currently 110 TeamMates mentors in North Platte, but it is still short of the need.

“We have about 50 kids on our wait list,” Morales said. “What I need right now is more mentors. You don’t have to have any special gifts or talents to be a mentor, you just have to be there.”

She said mentors and mentees play board games, shoot hoops, do crafts or just talk one time a week.

“Mentors are not allowed to meet with their mentees any place other than the school,” Morales said. “We are completely school-based, so mentors can go to any school activities, school plays, sporting events.”

Group events are planned from time to time outside the school setting as well.

For those who might be interested in becoming mentors, teammates.org has information on the application process.

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