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MentoringWorks continues mission during pandemic

Kaiden Henry - Perlich (left) is meeting with a mentee at the Mentoring Works office in...
Kaiden Henry - Perlich (left) is meeting with a mentee at the Mentoring Works office in Hastings, 223 East 14th Street.(Diamond Nunnally (KSNB))
Published: Mar. 6, 2021 at 9:42 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - One-on-one interactions have been hard to do during the pandemic, especially for mentoring programs who operate in an in-person setting.

MentoringWorks formally known as Big Brothers Big Sisters in Hastings have been able to adapt but not without consequences.

“We definitely lost matches throughout the whole pandemic,” said Executive Director Brady Kerkman.

Last year they had over 200 people in the program. Now they have less than a hundred.

“Part of it was mentors or mentees were not interested because they weren’t having the interaction they really wanted,” Kerkman said.

At the beginning of the pandemic mentors had to write letters to their mentees to communicate because some schools didn’t have the technology to do Zoom. Then after awhile as things started to get settled, they were able to meet virtually.

“Generally speaking mentors kind of coordinate their own matches and they sign up, but as an agency we really coordinated those zoom meetings for them,” Kerkman said. “It was a lot more labor intensive but certainly worth it to keep those matches going.”

Kaiden Henry - Perlich has been a mentor for two years now and it’s been challenging to keep her mentee’s attention during virtual meetings.

“We’ve been playing a lot of board games, except he plays for me, so he always wins, but other than that, it’s been ok because we can still talk and everything,” Henry - Perlich said.

Before mentors used to meet with their mentees inside the schools, and just recently they were allowed back.

They’re trying to get the number of people in the program back up. They don’t know if it will happen before summer but they’re hoping by next fall everything will be back to normal.

MentoringWorks serves K-5, junior and seniors in high school in Adams, Nuckolls, Webster, and Clay Counties. People interested in being involved with the program can call (402) 519-4515, apply online or reach out to their school’s guidance counselor for more info.

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