Metro-area groups team up to recruit more mentors for youths -
Published Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 4:41 am
Metro-area groups team up to recruit more mentors for youths

Cynric Whitaker didn't think he had what it took to be a mentor.

Mentors have to be wise professionals, he thought. They have to be incredibly intelligent and wealthy. They have to know everything and be perfect.

But a conversation the 40-year-old had with a friend changed his mind about volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“I might not have it all figured out,” Whitaker said. “But compared to someone who has no idea about what life might be like, like me from 30 years ago, I might know enough to get them going in the right direction.”

Clearing misconceptions people have about mentoring is the goal of a new campaign announced Wednesday by the Midlands Mentoring Partnership.

The group of 11 mentoring organizations is spending $20,000 on a citywide mentor recruiting campaign that will place public service announcements on television and put up about 14 billboards around Omaha. Mayor Jean Stothert also proclaimed August as mentoring month to help the campaign.

Midlands Mentoring Partnership members

100 Black Men

Ally Mentoring

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Girls Inc.

Hope Center for Kids

Kids Can Community Center

Ollie Webb

Partnership 4 Kids

Release Ministries


Youth Emergency Services

The partnership aims to recruit 500 new mentors by the end of October, said Deborah Neary, executive director.

Neary said there are 30,000 young people in Omaha but only 3,000 mentors. She wants to narrow that gap.

No other city has had mentoring agencies pool their resources to try to recruit mentors on this scale before, Neary said.

“Not only is this going to be a game changer in our community,” Neary said, “it can become a template for other cities to follow.”

The Midlands Mentoring Partnership won't be immediately affected by plans announced this week by Building Brighter Futures that it will narrow its focus — a focus that won't include the daily operations of mentoring.

Midlands Mentoring Partnership has three years remaining on a five-year financial commitment from the philanthropy that provides a significant portion of funding, Neary said.

In 2011, the first year of the five-year commitment, Building Brighter Futures contributed $631,230, according to the philanthropy's tax forms.

Neary said the philanthropy still is focusing on data collection, which Midlands Mentoring Partnership also works on.

“We have always shared the same goals regarding quality standards,” Neary said. “And that doesn't change.”

Contact the writer: Robby Korth    |   402-444-1169    |  

Robby is a a general assignment intern at the Omaha World-Herald and a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Video: Stothert says Crossroads project is 'full speed ahead,' but she won't support bond issue
'Fairly old' human skull found in Mills County
World champion Crawford's promoter working to have title defense at CenturyLink Center
Police i.d. body found near 36th, Seward Streets
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
Omaha crash victim, 19, had touched many lives
Firefighters take on 'fully engulfed barn fire'
Council Bluffs school board approves new district headquarters
Officials announce effort to lure more veterans to Nebraska
SB 132nd Street lane closed
Shane Osborn grabs several endorsements
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Omaha area may get 1 inch of rain tonight
Gov. Heineman vetoes bill to ease restrictions on nurse practitioners
Nebraska banking and finance director to retire
Waitress who served alcohol to teen before fatal crash gets jail time, probation
Owners of exotic dance bar deny prostitution allegations
More Nebraskans are electing to vote early
A day after Ricketts endorsement, Ted Cruz backs Sasse for Senate
Some city streets remain closed
Nebraska's U.S. Senate candidates stick to familiar topics at Omaha forum
19-year-old killed in one-vehicle crash at 72nd & Shirley
8% of alcohol sellers checked in Omaha area last week sold booze to minors
OPS bus, SUV collide; no students onboard at the time
< >
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
The idea that Paul Hogan had studied and then hatched at his mother's table was that older people, rather than moving in with relatives or to an assisted-living center, would much prefer to stay home instead.
Breaking Brad: Nebraska GOP candidates unified against naked squirrels
Some of these Nebraska campaigns are tilting pretty far right. At a recent forum, there was a consensus that we need to ban public dancing and clothe naked squirrels in public parks.
Breaking Brad: Inside the mind of a 99-year-old real estate agent
I saw an article about a 99-year-old real estate agent who's still working. “This house is extra special. It has indoor toilets!”
Breaking Brad: Into the claw machine! Florida kid follows Lincoln kid's lead
In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a child climbed inside a claw machine. Hey, Florida kid: Nobody likes a copycat.
Breaking Brad: Even Chuck Hassebrook's throwing mud!
The Nebraska campaigns have turned so ugly, Democrat Chuck Hassebrook lobbed unfounded accusations at an imaginary opponent.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Tokyo Sushi
$5 for $10 or $10 for $20 toward All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Purchase
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »