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TeamMates program motivates youth; more mentors are needed

By Molly Young 

One hour to motivate. One hour to encourage. One hour to inspire.

For one hour every week, community members make a difference in the lives of school-aged youth through the Boone Central TeamMates Mentoring Program. The program, in its ninth year at Boone Central, pairs students in grades four through 12 with volunteer mentors from the community.

“The program has great potential,” Darrel Barnes, Boone Central High School principal said.

“I’ve always been a big believer in establishing relationships with students. TeamMates provides a great opportunity to do that.”

Boone Central TeamMates coordinator Jeanette Zwiener discovered the program after researching ways to help students remain in school. A former middle school teacher in Omaha, Zwiener began to teach high school students after her move to Albion.

“When I came out to Albion and started having kids drop out of school, I was shocked. These kids were intelligent, bright students,” she said.

Zwiener felt something needed to be done. Former Albion High School principal Rich Beran agreed and encouraged her to look into available options.

“Mentoring seemed to be the number-one way to keep kids in school. TeamMates really caught my eye because it was a school-based program, which means mentors can’t take the students fishing or shopping or anything like that. And, there were some laws and rules to follow that made it easy to understand.”

The TeamMates Mentoring Program was founded in 1991 by then-Nebraska head football coach Tom Osborne and his wife, Nancy.

 Read more in the Albion News Print Edition.