Mentoring programs help children, adults

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Video and story by Dominique Kelley, NewsNetNebraska

Mentoring can change lives.

And in Lincoln, numerous opportunities exist for students or other adults to pair up with children who need positive role models in their life.

In 2008, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletic department partnered with Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) Department of Special Education to form Husker CoNNect. The program matches Nebraska student-athletes with LPS elementary or middle school students. The objective is to create a meaningful connection based upon shared experiences or common interests.

“I believe that mentoring helps to develop the student-athletes self-identity away from their sport identity,” said Bill Coby Jr., a life skills assistant for the UNL athletic department. “This in turn, helps prepare them for life after athletics.”

Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters has offered mentoring in Lincoln since 1904.

As part of nation’s largest donor and volunteer-supported mentoring network, Heartland BBBS prides itself on developing meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers the program calls “bigs,” and “littles,” kids ages 6 through 18 across Nebraska.

“We develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people,” said Nicole Juranek, director of corporate relations.

National research, according to Heartland, shows that positive relationships between mentors and children have a measurable impact on youngsters’ lives. By participating in BBBS children are:

  • more confident in their school work
  • able to get along better with their families
  • 52% less likely to skip school
  • 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
    For more information about Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters, contact Melinda Way-Stone at or 402-464-2227.