City looks to support mentoring efforts

Published: Jan. 4, 2018 at 4:47 PM CST
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As part of National Mentoring Month the Midlands Mentoring Partnership Thursday announced their fifth annual citywide recruitment campaign. Organizers hope to increase awareness of mentoring opportunities in this community.

All too often we hear of young people, who for some reason, end up going the wrong way. A few years ago Larry Shannon was involved in a ministry program; Larry would visit troubled youth at the Douglas County Youth Center. Larry is now a mentor working with D'Antae Harris.

“I don’t want to ever have to go to the Douglas County Youth Center to visit him. If there’s anything I can do to prevent him from getting in that type of situation. I hope I can do that,” Larry told 6 News.

Larry andD'Antae both agree they have a good relationship. Larry says D'Antae is the son he never had. D'Antae says Larry is a father figure.

“He can encourage me not to do bad things,” D'Antae said.

Organizers are hoping to attract more people to become mentors in an effort to help more young people in our area. Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert was a mentor; she knows how important the program can be.

“There are so many kids in our community that are in need of mentoring that have a lot of challenges in their lives and these are tomorrow's leaders, tomorrow’s teachers and parents and business leaders and elected officials,” said Stothert.

Mayor Stothert is doing more than talking about mentoring, On Thursday she gave a financial award to Midlands Mentoring Partnership.

“Last year we recognized a financial contribution which makes a difference and so the City of Omaha gave $10,000 last year in community service dollars and we’re going to give $10,000 again this year,” she said.

The money will be used to help recruitment more mentors and hopefully instead of hearing the stories about youth going the wrong way – we’ll hear more stories like Larry’s and D'Antae’s.

“I love him. He’s a very good guy,” said Larry.

Maren Larsen is with Youth Emergency Services. Her organization provides a wide range of programs and services to help youth in crisis. Larsen says mentoring programs are very helpful.

“It really gives them a confidence booster and positivity in their lives. Unfortunately a lot of youth in our community may not have the best home life or support system. So having a mentor really gives them –that person they can lean on and trust.”

As part of the recruitment campaign, Midlands Mentoring Partnership is launching the corporate mentoring challenge, challenging Omaha companies to expand mentoring programs within their companies and encouraging employees to participate.

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