Pictured: 7th grade Nevada Mentee, Serenity Stanley, and Mentor, Kim Crouse
Nevada residents, ask yourself this: “Do I have a little extra time in my life to help improve the life of a child?”
If the answer were “Yes,” or even “Maybe,” Alexa Trickle, the YSS Eastern Story County Mentoring Facilitator, would like to talk to you.
“We need more mentors in Nevada,” Alexa shared this week. “We have eight Nevada mentees (children wanting an adult mentor) on the wait list, and I have only one mentor ready for training.”
Training is not a huge time commitment, she pointed out. After filling out an application, training, if done in a group setting, might take an hour or a little longer. However, she can also provide training one-on-one in person or by Zoom, and it can take less than an hour to complete.
What is YSS Mentoring? It is simply an adult or high school student meeting with and having a caring relationship with a child. It involves listening, supporting, and taking genuine interest in what that child is experiencing in their life and in school.
“The relationship that grows between a mentee and mentor is really great to see,” said Alexa, who holds a Master’s degree from Iowa State University in Family Consumer Science/Youth Development. “Oftentimes, mentees have a tricky background or are lost in school and to see them respond to a positive role model, who comes to see them at school, it’s just great to see. Kids truly light up when they talk about their mentors.”
The most common of the two mentoring programs offered in Nevada is the School-Based Mentoring program. This program involves younger students, elementary and middle school age, and the meetings between mentee and mentor happen during the school day, oftentimes over lunch and/or recess breaks.
Activities in School-Based Mentoring can include eating lunch together, playing a board game, working on a craft project, enjoying time outside at recess, or simply visiting.
YSS also offers a Community-Based Mentoring program, which is new this year. This program serves 6-17 year olds, however is currently focused on engaging older students, those 13 to 17 years of age. Meetings between mentor and mentee happen outside of the school day in various community places, but it does involve a more detailed background check and extended training.
Currently, YSS has a greater need for volunteers for younger students.
“Nevada has 13 (mentor/mentee) matches right now; last year we had 22,” said Alexa, who in addition to facilitating, also serves as a mentor to a student. “As a mentor myself, I get just as much out of it as I think my mentee does!”
YSS Mentoring is certified by the Iowa Mentoring Partnership. If you would be interested in learning more, please reach out to Alexa Trickle at 515-291-2402 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Written by Marlys Barker, City of Nevada