SIDNEY -- Sometimes youth need an adult they can rely on, someone they can spend time with in a safe environment.

Teammates offers that opportunity for students in the Sidney School District.

The local chapter of Teammates held a fund raising event Friday, May 31, at Hillside Golf Course, with Dueling Pianos as the entertainment. About 75 people attended the event.

Prior to the event, program coordinators Lacy Russell and Ashley Fehringer talked about the Teammates program. The Teammates program began in 1991 with the vision of University of Nebraska Football Coach Tom Osborne and his wife Nancy. According to the Teammates Mentoring website, 22 football players began meeting with middle school students.

Lacy Russell, Sidney High School Interior Design & Print Shop teacher, traced Sidney's history to Coach Osborn's vision.

"Teammates was started in Lincoln by coach Osborne of the Husker football team. He saw a serious need for adult mentors for the youth in the community. So he started with a couple of his football players and they started mentoring Lincoln Middle School students, and it just eventually grew around the state. The state saw the importance of it," said Russell. 

She said the program also caught on in Sidney in 2011.

"It came to Sidney the most recent time in 2011. It was here before that, but we lost it for a couple of years. Then it was re-established in 2011 and we've been going strong ever since," she said.

Teammates is structured for a mentor and the student mentee to meet at scheduled times at school. The adult and student can do anything from a time of basketball, homework tutoring to deep conversations. Mentor training emphasizes specific boundaries between the mentor and mentee.

Ashley Fehringer, Sidney High School Business Education teacher, shared her experiences as a mentor in Teammates.

"I've had a really good experience as a mentor. Actually, a few. I'm actually matched with my third mentee now. I started with my first. I was matched with her in 2011 as a fifth grader, and I followed her all the way through high school graduation. I'm still in contact and very close with her today. I was matched with another high school mentee and watched her graduate and now I'm matched with a sophomore in high school and I'm anxious to watch her also graduate from Sidney High School," Fehringer said.

She said the mentoring experience benefits the adult, and the student.

"So, it's been a really cool experience. A lot of people tell when we go through our trainings that not only is this an extremely important and awesome experience for our mentees but it's just as much an experience and adventure for our mentors. That's really the experience I personally have gotten from it. It's been just really awesome," she said.

This year, Teammates has had more adults interested in being a mentor than students. 

Contact any mentor, or email Fehringer at [email protected], Russell at [email protected]

To learn more about Teammates Mentoring, see