Tom Osborne promotes TeamMates in Butler County

Tom Osborne, founder of TeamMates, speaks at the TeamMates Tailgate fundraiser. Osborne spoke for about one hour, where he promoted the program and explained the impact it has on many kids.

Macy Svoboda, Co-Editor

Many people in the Butler County area came together on Sat., Aug. 12, for a TeamMates fundraiser at the Butler County Fairgrounds. The fundraiser helped the program grow as people donated different items as well as shared their experiences about being involved with the program.

Tom Osborne spoke at this event, sharing what TeamMates is and what the program tries to accomplish. He started off explaining how the program first began with 22 volunteers to mentor students. These mentors helped the kids not only study and practice, but also gave them hope and encouragement. All 22 of the students graduated high school, in which 18 decided to move further with their education by attending college. After that first set of students, the program began to grow.

“TeamMates is not for bad or troubled kids; it’s for those who need a little extra guidance,” Osborne said.

One of Osborne’s main focuses was to encourage more adults to volunteer one hour a week to mentor more students. Osborne explained how Butler County currently has 38 mentors but could easily use 60 or more.

Osborne then went on to express that a mentor provides their student with three simple actions. The mentor should show love toward their student, provide affirmation, as well as provide a vision of a possible outcome for their student.

“If you don’t have hope in your life you will fill it with something, and it might not be something good,” Osborne explained.

The program is hoping to be able to mentor around 10,000 students within the next couple years. Osborne continued to stress the fact that without adult mentors, many students would be left on the waiting list until the program finds more volunteers.

“Every young person could use a mentor,” David City Public Schools Superintendent Chad Denker said. “For some, it is just nice to have a caring adult to share their thoughts and feelings with, someone to listen to their concerns, and someone to receive some guidance and affirmation from. All of us can benefit from a positive influence and encouragement at times.”

After Osborne spoke, the rest of the fundraiser consisted of a dinner, some other volunteer speakers, and a silent auction.