Businesses Encourage to Support Employees Who Mentor


Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert speaks at a mentor recruitment campaign announcement organized by the Greater Omaha Chamber and Mentor Nebraska on Jan. 7, 2020. Stothert praised all the area businesses, groups and people that support mentors. (Courtesy Teresa Riesberg/Mentor Nebraska)
By 
Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

Court-involved youth are more than two and a half times as likely to have a mentor than they were five years ago, but many young people still lack mentorship.

Mentor Nebraska, the Omaha nonprofit formerly called Midlands Mentoring Partnership, launched its seventh annual mentoring recruitment campaign last week in recognition of January as National Mentoring Month.

“Mentoring is one of the simplest, yet most effective and rewarding ways to make a lasting impact in a child’s life,” said Deborah Neary, executive director of Mentor Nebraska. “With a commitment of just four hours per month, you can be the trusted adult that so many young people need in their lives. You don’t need to have any special expertise to be a mentor – just being there for your mentee as a role model will make a great impact.”

The local campaign is aligned with a national effort by Mentor: The National Mentoring Partnership, a nonprofit that advocates for and supports mentoring organizations across the country.

Mentor Nebraska joined the Greater Omaha Chamber and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert to launch the recruitment campaign.

“The future of our community is strengthened when caring adults support our young people to help them reach their full potential,” said Stothert, a finalist for a national mentoring award in 2019. “I am proud of the many local businesses, organizations, and individuals who support mentoring as a way to create opportunities for youth in our city.”

As part of the recruitment campaign, Mentor Nebraska is challenging Omaha businesses to create or expand a mentoring culture by encouraging their employees to participate in mentoring programs for community youths.

The City of Omaha Mayor’s Office also awarded Mentor Nebraska a $10,000 grant to support its recruitment efforts.

The state-level nonprofit recently launched a new evidence-based mentoring model, Success Mentors, which supports more than 650 chronically absent students in Omaha Public Schools.

The nonprofit’s efforts have also boosted mentoring for juvenile court youth by 250% over the past five years, and it has grown the proportion of youth in north Omaha schools who are served by mentors by 150% over two years.

In the past year, the number of refugee youth in Omaha served by a mentor has grown 300%.

“The child may never tell you how much, by you being a mentor, it impacts them, but it truly does,” mentor Karelle Leeper says in a recruiting video produced by Mentor Nebraska. “But it also can impact you in the same way. It can turn your life around.”

For more information on how to become a mentor, visit mentornebraska.org.

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