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Tricia Faust

Editor’s note: Each week, the Columbus Telegram will be profiling a local service organization to highlight what each group does for the community.

Whenever a young person has a mentor to look up to, it creates a butterfly effect across the community, TeamMates Mentoring Program co-coordinator Tricia Faust said.

Faust and program members have witnessed numerous local success stories.

“Mentoring has such an amazing ripple effect in the community,” Faust said. “It does not only help that child directly by giving them another caring adult in their life and another positive role model but in turn, if it helps that child, it’s going to help that child’s classroom, their home and the community as a whole.”

TeamMates is a school-based mentoring program where the organization pairs a student with a volunteer who visits the youth during one class or lunch period once a week throughout the school year, Faust said. The mentors can partake in a variety of activities with their mentees such as playing basketball or board games, going on a walk or sitting and talking as long as it is on school grounds, she added.

“One of the biggest things is we want the kids to have a sense of hope when there is another caring adult in their life,” TeamMates co-coordinator Tim Hamilton said of what he hopes the youths can take away from the program. “You can’t always measure it or articulate it specifically but just a sense of hope in life in general when you’ve got a caring adult is – sounds simple – one of the greatest things.”

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Currently, there are mentors at local schools like Columbus Middle, Columbus High, Lakeview Junior-Senior High, Scotus Central Catholic, Platte Creek Elementary, Shell Creek Elementary and Boys Town Duncan Day School.

tim hamilton

TeamMates Mentoring Program co-coordinator Tim Hamilton

Columbus Middle School counselor Kim Shevlin said the students cherish having a mentor.

“They enjoy having that adult who is there every week and that they can count on to be there,” Shevlin said. “… They look forward to the visits.”

Teammates was started in 1991 by former Nebraska Cornhuskers coach Tom Osborne and his wife, Nancy, as a way to create an impact on young students’ lives, according to the TeamMates website. It has since become a statewide program that has also grown across five states.

Meanwhile, Columbus’ chapter is currently in its 23rd year, Faust said.

There are a few ways in which the children are chosen. Kids will sometimes self-nominate while in other instances TeamMates will get referrals from other agencies, Faust said.

Additionally, based on a volunteer’s school preference, Faust said she will call the educational institute that there is a mentor who wants to help. The school staff members then match the volunteer and student, Faust added.

“That’s not how it always happens but a lot of times that is how it goes,” Faust said. “As I get volunteers I notify the school and they can pull a kid that they feel would be a good fit and would enjoy the mentoring experience and benefit from having another caring adult in their life.

“The schools have a ton of kids that they would love to have in the program. Every child can benefit from another mentor and role model in their life.”

TeamMates is looking for such volunteers to mentor area youths. For more information, contact the organization at either 402-564-8326 or or visiting The TeamMates website includes an application to become a mentor.

Andrew Kiser is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at

(Excerpt) Read more Here | 2021-10-16 06:30:00


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