More about our Mentoring Programs
The Community Connections Mentoring Program matches children in kindergarten through seventh grade with adult mentors who have similar interests. Our program plans monthly activities in which mentors and mentees are encouraged to participate. Past activities have included Dancing Leaf Lodge near Wellfleet, geocaching, swimming, touring KNOP-TV, horseback riding, and many others. In addition, we plan community service projects in which we invite our mentoring pairs to participate. As a mentor, you will receive free admission to the Recreation Center, the Golden Spike and Children’s Museum for you and your mentee. Each month, we provide a monthly newsletter of upcoming activities and tips on mentoring.
Frequently Asked Questions About Community Connections Mentoring
Do you pick the youth for me? How are we matched?
You are an essential part of the matching process. We will give you the opportunity to attend group activities so that we can point out youth who do not have mentors. If you think you would be a good match with the youth, we will provide you further information about them. We want our matches to be successful.
Can I include my kids/grandchildren in our time together?
Yes, as long as you also have an opportunity to meet one-on-one. Part of the program’s mission is to enhance social and communication skills in youth. Interacting with positive peers is valuable.
Where do I meet with my mentee?
Our mentoring program is community-based, with the flexibility of meeting at any of your favorite locations in Lincoln County. There are many public locations that provide the opportunity to spend time with your mentee, such as the parks. You are also welcome to meet with your mentee during their school lunch period.
Can we get together on the weekend?
You can meet with your mentee any time that works for you and for the youth’s family.
I am worried that I won’t have enough time to spend with my mentee.
Mentees do not expect you to make special plans for them. They just enjoy the fact that you think they are special enough to hang out with them. Letting them go with you during your normal routine is an easy way to get to know them, and teach them a lot of life lessons. By including them when you run errands, buy groceries, or just a joy ride in town can be a great way to develop a relationship.
Mentor Eligibility and Screening
It is the policy of Community Connections Mentoring that each participant must meet the defined eligibility criteria. Mentor eligibility requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Reside in Lincoln County, Nebraska
- Be willing to adhere to Community Connections policies and procedures
- Agree to a one-year commitment to the program
- Commit to spending an average of 4 to 8 hours a month with the mentee
- Complete the screening process
- Have a clean criminal history:
- Have never been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime against a child
- Not a convicted felon
- Understand that I will undergo a background check prior to being matched with a child
- Understand that all of my three references listed in this application will be contacted
- Will attend mentor trainings
- Will communicate regularly with mentoring staff, and submit monthly time spent on mentoring
- Have access to reliable transportation, a valid driver’s license, proof of liability insurance that is maintained
- Not use illicit drugs
- Will not use alcohol or tobacco in the presence of mentees
- Do not use controlled substances unless prescribed
- Have not been hospitalized for a mental disorder in the past three years
- Have not falsified information during the screening process
It is also the policy of Community Connections Mentoring that each mentor applicant completes a screening procedure. At a minimum, the following procedures are required for all mentor applicants.
1. Complete a written application
2. Provide three references:
a. One from a current employer, or previous employer if retired
b. Co-workers, friends, neighbors, etc
c. No relatives can serve as a reference
3. Background checks on all volunteers are conducted prior to matching, including an HHS Registry check. All volunteers will redo their criminal background checks on their second year anniversary. Any potential mentors failing to meet these standards will not be considered for our program. Volunteers must not have ever been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime against a child, and may not be a convicted felon. For other crimes, a review committee composed of a minimum of two Community Connections staff and two Board or Advisory Council members will evaluate the individual based on the following criteria:
- Seriousness of the crime
- Length of time since the offense
- Pattern of criminal activity
- Activities the applicant has been involved in since the offense occurred
The review committee reserves the right to require that the applicant meet in person before the committee to answer questions. Applicants with a pending criminal charge will not be
considered until the applicant produces a case disposition.
4. Proof of current auto insurance coverage and current drivers license
5. Personal interview. Major points covered during the personal interview will include:
- Experiences working with youth
- Level of flexibility, time commitments and ability to sustain relationship
- Transportation requirements
- Interests and leisure time activities
- Transportation requirements
- Strengths and weaknesses
6. Attend a mentor training
7. Provide a photo id
Applicants not found suitable will receive a formal letter declining their request to be a mentor. Suitability is determined by a review of all of the required screening. Any current mentor convicted of a subsequent DUI will be released from the program. Any mentor applicant with a history of alcohol or drug dependence and abuse will be required to have been sober of clean for more than three years, and meet with the screening committee to determine suitability.
Mentors will sign an agreement to:
- Commit to a minimum of one year with their mentee
- Attend training sessions
- Be on time for scheduled meetings
- Keep discussions with youth confidential (except when the youth’s safety is at risk)
- Notify Community Connections staff if an issue arises
- Notify staff of any changes in employment, address, telephone number and criminal convictions
- Spend four to eight hours a month with their mentee
Male mentors will be paired only with male mentees.
Community Connections will have a code of ethics signed by each volunteer prior to matching. Applicants who pass all screening processes successfully are notified and matching begins. Any mentor accepted into the program will be immediately released if convicted of any crime listed above that would disqualify a mentor.