MENTOR Nebraska, an organization that advocates for youth mentoring and the activities of its member agencies, is celebrating National Mentoring Month this January by launching its 8th annual mentor recruitment campaign. The local campaign is aligned with a national campaign led by MENTOR National, a nonprofit that serves as an advocate and resource for mentoring organizations. The campaign was announced today at a virtual multi-agency media conference presented by MENTOR Nebraska with support from Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert. Mayor Stothert shared that MENTOR Nebraska will receive a $10,000 grant from the City of Omaha to assist with mentor recruitment as part of the campaign.
“I am happy to continue the city’s financial support of MENTOR Nebraska and the mentoring programs in our community in 2021,” said Mayor Stothert. “Mentoring is a personal connection that is so important, especially now. You can provide students with the support, friendship, and direction they need.”
MENTOR Nebraska also announced that it is partnering with Charles Drew Health Center to house an innovative new mentoring model called Youth Initiated Mentoring (YIM). YIM is a community-based mentoring model that engages potential mentors from among the caring adults already in youths’ lives. A newly created Mentoring Coordinator will manage referrals from community-based organizations and juvenile justice agencies to match system-impacted youth with mentors.
“We are so excited to launch the Youth Initiated Mentoring (YIM) model at Charles Drew Health Center,” said CDHC CEO Kenny McMorris. “The need for mentors has never been greater and this is a unique opportunity to transform the lives of young people while strengthening our community.”
In addition, Melissa Mayo was publicly introduced as MENTOR Nebraska’s Executive Director. Mayo was previously the Senior Programming Director at MENTOR Nebraska, leading expansion efforts of Success Mentors and STRIVE refugee mentoring in several Nebraska school districts, as well as supporting evaluation and operations functions for MENTOR Nebraska. “The need for mentors to step forward is amplified by COVID-19,” said Mayo. “We need to rebuild connections in our community and a great way to do that is through mentoring. Our partner mentoring programs are anxious to connect caring adults with young people in their programs who are waiting for a mentor.” Although MENTOR Nebraska and its partner agencies have made great strides in serving young people, the need is still great. There are over 40,000 school-aged youth living below the poverty level in Omaha alone, and 80,000 across the state of Nebraska.
(Photo by WOWT 6 News)