At the mention of Tom Osborne, many would affiliate the man with his show-stopping career as head football coach for the University of Nebraska- Lincoln.
However, there was another topic on Dr. Osborne’s mind when he stopped by two TS Bank locations last week.
TeamMates is a mentoring program created by Obsorne and his wife, Nancy, in 1991.
“My wife Nancy was watching 60 Minutes, and we saw a segment about a man who was helping students pay their way through college,” said Osborne. “I wasn’t about to send an entire elementary school to college, but I decided to think up ways in which I could help.”
Osborne said he went back to his practice and asked his team members how many of them would be willing to mentor 7th and 8th-grade boys.
“I saw 22 hands go up,” stated Osborne.
From there, he reached out to the local school and asked teachers to nominate 22 kids to spend time with his team members once a week.
“I told the boys they could do anything with those kids; take them to a movie, to practice – anything. Just spend time with them, ” recalls Osborne.
Osborne didn’t know he started a movement, sharing that 18 of the 22 students went on to college with the money eventually raised by what is now known as the organization “TeamMates.”
The TeamMates program has expanded and now includes mentors for 8,000 students in 150 school districts throughout Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming and Kansas.
Mentors currently spend time with students from 3rd grade all the way through high school graduation. Statistics show that for every student that is mentored, there is a major increase in attendance, grades, and likelihood of continuing education.
“We are not tutoring; we are building relationships.” – Dr. Tom Osborne
3 Things A Mentor Does – As Stated by Tom Osborne
- Loves Mentee– Shows a commitment by weekly visits
- Provides Affirmation– Let’s the student know what he or her strengths are. Congratulates them on a job well done
- Writes a Vision of What’s Possible – “We don’t want to go in with the mentality that we are here to ‘fix them,’ but instead we want to give them hope.
“Hope is a powerful thing. When you don’t have hope or something to strive for, we find people often fill their time with negative things.” – Tom Osborne
Osborne left the meeting with one final note: “Your most valuable asset is your time. You can always make more money, but you can’t get more time. Giving up just one hour a week for a cause… there is no greater gift.”
Hear from TS Bank Employees who volunteer with Teammates
“There is a great need for mentors in the community. Spending about one hour a week with a student can make the difference between that student dropping out of school and going on to higher education. The staff at the school I volunteer with told me that my mentee has told them that I am one of the only things that keep him coming back to school. That is pretty powerful to have that sort of impact.” – Brett Werner, TS Banking Group, Director of Analytics
“It’s a great opportunity to reach out and make a difference in a child’s life. It gives you that warm fuzzy feeling to know that they are looking forward to seeing you each week. And a bonus, there are some pretty great field trips that you get to go on!” -Jordan Heywood, TS Bank, Client Contact Specialist
“If you want to be a positive force in a young person’s life, then TeamMates is for you. If every caring adult would spend one hour a week with a child in need of a constant, caring, positive role model, this world might be a better place." -Marsha Park, TS Bank, Credit Analyst and Member of the TeamMates Board in Council Bluffs.
For more information about teammates and to complete your application head to TeamMates.org.