About Us

MENTOR Nebraska Overview

MENTOR Nebraska, formerly Midlands Mentoring Partnership, was launched in 1999 to improve the number and quality of mentoring programs available for Nebraska’s youth. For more than 20 years, we have led the mentoring movement to ensure youth and mentors have access to high-quality mentoring experiences. We support and collaborate with more than 200 mentoring programs that serve 14,000+ youth across Nebraska. While growth is a vital component of connecting more young people with mentors, we are dedicated to making sure those connections are quality matches made through quality mentoring programs.

Vision

MENTOR Nebraska’s vision is for every young person to have the supportive relationships they need to grow and develop into thriving, productive and engaged adults.

Mission

MENTOR Nebraska fuels the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships, strengthens collaboration, and advocates for mentoring.

Guiding Principles

Champions For Youth

  • We believe that young people are fully capable of thriving and reaching success in their lives.
  • We celebrate and recognize the many strengths and assets that youth possess.
  • We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas of our work.
  • We advocate for mentoring as a critical youth development strategy that supports increased access and support in education and employment while decreasing youth involvement in the juvenile justice system.

Promoters of Excellence in Mentoring

  • We promote best practices and embrace high standards for quality, innovation, and continuous improvement.
  • We use data, assessments, and resources to ensure effective continuous improvement in our sector.

Capacity Builders

  • We provide technical assistance and professional development opportunities for educators, staff, and community providers.
  • We develop, maintain, and leverage strong relationships with mentoring partners to extend and enhance capacity across the state.

Connectors

  • We leverage and extend our work through community partnerships and collaborations.
  • We connect, convene, and partner with mentoring programs, schools, businesses, philanthropists, and policy makers to recruit mentors and create efficiencies in our sector.

Change Agents

  • We examine data to identify trends and gaps in services and operate at the highest level of integrity to ensure donor funds are used as entrusted.
  • We research, promote, and provide support for promising new initiatives and innovations in the mentoring sector.

Recent Awards

  • 2016 Spirit of Omaha Best Education Event
  • 2016 Better Business Bureau Integrity Award
  • 2015 Nonprofit Association of the Midlands Best Practice Partner
  • 2014 Nonprofit Association of the Midlands Catalyst Award

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Annual Report

Meet the Team

Deborah Neary

Executive Director

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Deborah serves as the Executive Director of MENTOR Nebraska, and leads the efforts of this collective impact organization. She and her team work in close partnership with community organizations, businesses, and municipalities across the state of Nebraska with the primary goal to support and increase quality mentoring. Deborah earned a master’s degree in public administration and history from the University of Nebraska and has 20+ years of non-profit leadership experience in the arts, healthcare and in the social services. Deborah has served as a group mentor with Partnership 4 Kids and a one-on-one mentor with Girls Inc. She and her husband, Joseph, have cared for eight foster children and are both passionate advocates for youth living in poverty and for foster care issues.

Whitney Baker

Director of Operations

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Whitney Baker

Whitney joined MENTOR Nebraska in 2010 and currently serves as the organization’s Director of Operations.  In her role, Whitney has provided training, technical assistance, and consulting support to youth service programs throughout Nebraska and across the country.  Whitney leads program staff in promoting the most effective and high-quality standards in all aspects of mentoring, and the development of sound and sustainable organizations. Whitney has overseen the implementation of new and innovative mentoring models including a model called Youth Initiated Mentoring, which has garnered the attention of both the research and practitioner community across the country, and Success Mentors, a ground-breaking and evidence-based mentoring program targeted at supporting chronically absent students.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska - Omaha. Whitney is a past mentor, and currently volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Douglas County.  She is an alumna of Omaha Women's Fund Circles, a 2015 graduate of the Nonprofit Executive Institute, and a graduate of Leadership Omaha Class 39.

Teresa Riesberg

Events  & Operations Manager

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Teresa serves as the Operations and Events Manager for MENTOR Nebraska. In her position, Teresa is focused on increasing awareness of the need for mentors in the community and coordinating the work of partner mentoring programs to increase mentor recruitment efforts. In addition, Teresa trains mentoring program staff on mentoring best practices, screening volunteers, and trauma-informed care. She also supports organizational operations, builds relationships with new and existing mentoring programs, and coordinates mentor recruitment campaigns. Prior to this role, Teresa spent several years working in the marketing field. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism & mass communication and kinesiology & health from Iowa State University.

Yesenia Valenzuela

Mentoring Services Manager

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As the Mentoring Services Manager, Yesenia provides on the ground support for the implementation of Youth Initiated Mentoring, Village Zone and Success Mentors. In addition, Yesenia tracks and analyzes data, oversees progress of new initiatives, serves as liaison to valued partners, and provides training and technical support to mentoring program staff. Prior to this role, her main priority for the past fifteen years has been to improve youth guided programs by building on their strengths and ensuring a path for success. Through her involvement in many youth focused organizations such as Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska and Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands, Yesenia’s contributions have included curriculum building as well as expansion of programs across the metro area. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cal State University of Los Angeles and is also bilingual. Yesenia is committed to her community and serves as a Board Member of The South Omaha Community Care Council and other associations that make it their mission to provide leadership and educational support to the young people of Omaha.

Executive Committee

Chris Rodgers

Board President, Douglas County Board of Commissioners & Creighton University

John Ewing

Board Vice President, Douglas County Treasurer

Kathy Clark

Board Treasurer, FBG Services

Rick Spellman

Member at Large, Cline Williams

Jeremy Christensen

Board Secretary

Board of Directors

Dan Burke

Silverstone Group

Vernon Daniels

Juvenile Court of Douglas County

Matthew Enenbach

Kutak Rock

Scott Focht

Omaha Public Power District

Greg Gonzalez

Omaha Police Department

Kevin Langin

First National Bank

Kari Potts

Valmont Industries

Carol Russell

Community Volunteer

Matt Wallen

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

Jay Warren-Teamer

Mutual of Omaha

Richard Webb

100 Black Men of Omaha

Michael McMeekin

ACE Mentor Program

Nichole Turgeon

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands

Miah Sommer

The Bike Union Mentoring Project

Roberta Wilhelm

Girls Inc. of Omaha

Brenda Block

The Hope Center for Kids

Robert Patterson

Kids Can Community Center

Deb Denbeck

Partnership 4 Kids

Laurie Ackermann

Ollie Webb Center, Inc.

Dave Wininger

Release Ministries

Chris Tointon

YMCA Reach & Rise

Mary Fraser Meints

Youth Emergency Services

Information coming soon...