In 1991, University of Nebraska Head Coach Tom Osborne started a community outreach program with his football team. Today, the TeamMates Mentoring Program is transforming thousands of lives in public schools across Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Wyoming.
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Over the course of a 24 legendary years as head football coach of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers, Tom Osborne won 255 games and three national championships.
ESPN named Osborne the coach of the decade for the 90’s. The College Football Hall of Fame enshrined him in 2000.
Despite these on-field accomplishments, it is Osborne’s work off the field that continues to transform lives in the Nebraska community and beyond.
In 1991, while still the head coach at Nebraska, Osborne and his wife, Nancy, started the TeamMates Mentoring Program. Their vision was for the athletes in his program to become positive influences in the lives of middle school students in Lincoln’s public schools.
The TeamMates Mentoring Program officially became a state program in 1998. Today, it serves nearly 9,000 students across Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Wyoming.
Haileigh Lowell is just one of the thousands of TeamMates mentees who can attest to the power of the program.
Through the program, she was able to experience a healthy adult relationship that many of her peers were not fortunate enough to have.
For thousands of other kids like Haileigh, TeamMates provides the consistent adult presence missing from their lives.
I was looking for someone I could trust and open up to. And to know that I had an amazing support system.
In mentees, the results are undeniable. Attendance has improved. Grades and graduation rates have risen significantly while gang involvement has dropped. There is less substance abuse and fewer teenage pregnancies.
But perhaps the program’s biggest impact is that kids simply have more hope.
Even though Tom Osborne will go down in history as one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, he believes a person’s true legacy is the ripple effect caused by investing in someone else.
To learn more about TeamMates Mentoring and how you can get involved, visit TeamMates.org