(La Vista, Neb.) Safe communication is easier for TeamMates matches thanks to the TeamMates Portal.
The TeamMates Portal is the communication hub where mentors and mentees can schedule and log their match meetings, exchange messages safely, and even meet virtually when meeting in person is not possible. Before the Portal, TeamMates matches would communicate through their local school’s coordinator. Now, the TeamMates Portal allows for direct communication between matches to agree on a meeting activity, reschedule meetings, or offer encouragement between meetings.
“Our number one priority is supporting our matches. This technology will provide a connection point for so many TeamMates matches,” Executive Director Sarah Waldman said.
Before COVID-19, TeamMates was built upon face to face, in-person sessions. When schools were shut down in 2020, TeamMates found video conferencing and connecting electronically as a form of “warm distancing,” which researchers say mitigates the negative effects of social isolation. As more volunteers are being welcomed back into school buildings, TeamMates will continue to use the Portal as a continuous communication component[BR1] and to schedule meetings, both in person and virtual when unable to meet in person.
This project was supported by the funding from an anonymous donor, the Union Pacific Foundation, and the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, CFDA Number 21. 019.
About the TeamMates Mentoring Program
Founded in 1991 by Dr. Tom and Nancy Osborne, the TeamMates Mentoring Program’s mission is to positively impact the world by inspiring youth to reach their full potential through mentoring. Matches meet in school once a week during the academic year to play board games, work on a craft, or just talk. Students can be nominated for the program through a parent, school staff member or through self-nomination.
During the 2019-2020 school year, TeamMates served more than 10,900 students in almost 200 communities across Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Along with improvements in grades, attendance, and behavior, students report feeling higher levels of hope as a result of their mentor.