NFM Cares Partners with TeamMates Mentoring Program
NFM Cares was established in 2014 as our formal volunteer program. As a family-run business, we have a family mindset and we want to support the communities in which we live. We want to be proud of the part we play in helping people to achieve a better lifestyle whether that’s in our stores or in our communities. We took that one step further when we made the decision to allow our team members to volunteer while on the clock.
NFM Cares encourages our staff to participate in community events that focus on health and wellness, education, the military, and volunteerism We’re proud to partner with local organizations in each of our regions such as the Open Door Mission and Brush-up Nebraska in Omaha, The Ronald McDonald House Charities in Kansas City, and The Stewpot in Dallas.
Another one of NFM’s community partners is TeamMates Mentoring Program, and since January is National Mentoring Month we’d like to share stories from some of us that have volunteered time to be a mentor.
TeamMates is a one-on-one, school-based mentoring program that matches students in grades 3-12 with an adult mentor. Studies show that youth who are mentored and receive support and guidance from a caring adult are more likely to stay in school, graduate, and pursue higher education. NFM has been partnered with TeamMates since 2012 and we currently have over 40 mentors volunteering their time in the Omaha location. Mentors meet with their mentees once a week throughout the school year with a goal of 24 meetings each year.
Doug Hamlin, CFO of Nebraska Furniture Mart, has been matched with his mentee for three years now. When thinking about how he got started in the program, Doug recalls looking at the nomination form and thinking, “Why not me?” After the initial meeting, Doug considered the commitment joining the program would entail. He said thinking about the commitment of staying with your mentee through high school seemed like a daunting task at first, but it is worth it.
“It might sound scary at first, you may not think you’re ready for it, that you don’t have the time for it, but really it’s only an hour a week… and what you’ll find is that commitment you think you’re making is not a commitment at all, it’s actually an activity that becomes a part of your life, that actually enriches your life.”
When asked about how volunteering with TeamMates has made an impact on her life, Customer Service Manager Leslie Schaecher, said, “Volunteering has opened my eyes to the real issues of what kids are having to deal with every day.”
Leslie has been matched with her mentee for about 18 months now. She asked to be matched in the school district closest to her home in Gretna. A lot of mentors choose to meet over the lunch hour, but Leslie meets with her mentee in the morning. “My mentee plays basketball and volleyball and I also play volleyball so when we meet in the mornings a lot of times we will just practice serving and setting in the gym.”
She is excited by how the relationship has grown since she first started the program. “In the beginning, each visit with her ended with just an acknowledgment of “see you next week!” Now, it ends with a hug!”
Want to get involved? Mentoring is a great way to make a positive impact on our community and it only takes one hour a week! Click here to find out how you can join TeamMates!