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 Neary Photo 2

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

Associate Director

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Whitney Baker

Whitney joined MENTOR Nebraska in 2010 and currently serves as the organization’s Associate Director.  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.

Melissa Mayo

Senior Director of Programming

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Melissa Mayo Headshot

Melissa joined MENTOR Nebraska in 2019 as the Senior Director of Programming. In this role, Melissa oversees data collection and evaluation, helps implement the National Quality Mentoring System across Nebraska, and is the initial point of contact for all new member agencies. She also oversees the implementation of Success Mentors.

Melissa previously served as the Director of Community Impact-Education at United Way of the Midlands. In this role, she managed the education portfolio of the community investment work, including the bi-annual allocations process and special initiative grants. Melissa served as the project manager for community-level initiatives including the School Based Attendance Coalition and Book Trust literacy pilot project, while providing leadership in the expansion of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading initiative in the Omaha metro area. Prior to her work at United Way, she held leadership positions at Latino Center of the Midlands, Partnership 4 Kids, and Heartland Family Service. Melissa earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska - Omaha. She is a 2011 graduate of the Nonprofit Executive Institute and past board member of the South YMCA.

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.

Marisa Casillas

Mentoring Services Coordinator

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Marisa

Marisa serves as the Mentor Services Coordinator for MENTOR Nebraska. In her role, Marisa partners with our Mentor Services Manager to provide on the ground support for the advancement of Youth Initiated Mentoring, Village Zone and Success Mentors. In addition, Marisa works directly with MENTOR Nebraska’s partners, Omaha Public Schools, and the African American Empowerment to match village zone youth with mentors. Prior to this role, she spent more than ten years actively engaging with youth through mentoring and education. Marisa is passionate about seeing youth evolve into confident leaders who aim to change not just their circumstances, but also their communities. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Middle Childhood Education from Wright State University and is thrilled be a part of the MENTOR Nebraska team.

Susan Mayberger

Educational Consultant

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Susan joined MENTOR Nebraska in 2018. In her role, she works as an educational consultant and oversees a Refugee Mentoring Program for high school students for MENTOR Nebraska.

Susan has a master's degree in Special Education from Columbia Teachers College and a master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Hunter College, City University of New York. She worked in the Catholic schools in New York City from 1980-83.  From 1984-1996, she worked for the New York City Public Schools as a Special Education and English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and as Coordinator of a Title VII grant.  She moved back to Omaha, Nebraska in 1996 and has worked in the Omaha Public Schools (OPS) since August, 1998.  She worked as the Coordinator of ESL, Migrant and Refugee Education for OPS until her retirement in August, 2017. Susan is a member of the Latino Academic Achievement Council, the Omaha Refugee Task Force and was the Board Chair of the South Omaha Community Care Council until August, 2017. In addition to her role at MENTOR Nebraska, she is an educational consultant for the NDE Migrant Education Program.

Executive Committee

Chris Rodgers

Board President, Douglas County Board of Commissioners & Creighton University

Kathy Clark

Board Vice President

Jeremy Christensen

Board Secretary, Baird Holm

Scott Focht

Strategic Planning, Omaha Public Power District

Board of Directors

Vernon Daniels

Juvenile Court of Douglas County

Matthew Enenbach

Kutak Rock

Greg Gonzalez

Omaha Police Department

Kevin Langin

First National Bank

Kari Potts

Valmont Industries

Carol Russell

Community Volunteer

Richard Spellman

Cline Williams

Matt Wallen

Nebraska Deptartment 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...