Why We Work at LSS – Mentoring Services

This week on the blog, we are featuring our agency employees and letting you know why they work at LSS. Today we are highlighting the program staff in Mentoring Services. We hope you enjoy learning more about the wonderful and dedicated staff! If you would like to join us, check out the LSS employment opportunities here.

Front L-R: Ben Gloor, Melissa Timmerman, Michelle Madsen. Back L-R: Lisa Falon Schulz, Brandi Umberger

Front L-R: Ben Gloor, Melissa Timmerman, Michelle Madsen. Back L-R: Lisa Falon Schulz, Brandi Umberger

LSS Mentoring Services has a relatively small team that oversees three unique programs. This small team of professionals coupled with the hundreds of volunteers has a big impact in the Sioux Falls area! Each staff member shared their favorite story they have encountered at LSS. It is safe to say we all enjoy our job, but it is the stories that we remember at the end of the day that make us feel so blessed.

Ben Gloor is the newest member of the staff and works with the newest service, Better Together. Better Together matches volunteers with older adults for the purpose of socialization and community building. There are currently 16 Better Together matches in progress.
What is a favorite mentoring moment you have heard about?
Working with Better Together, I get the opportunity to hear stories from volunteers that are meeting with older adults (or Neighbors), much like the way mentors meet with students.  I love hearing about the activities matches take part in and how much fun they have. One of my favorite moments that I heard recently was a neighbor telling me that not only did they go to a movie, but then rode a ferris wheel and topped that off by eating dessert! The Neighbor was laughing while telling me about how much fun they had that afternoon.

Melissa Timmerman serves as the Administrative Assistant, taking all phone calls, processing all new mentor applications and schedules all of the training opportunities.
What is a favorite mentoring moment you have heard about?
This is not one particular moment, but I enjoy taking phone calls from mentors that just want to tell someone that mentoring is going better than they could have imagined. How pleasantly surprised they are with the student they get matched with and how they didn’t expect it to affect them in such a positive way.

Michelle Madsen is the Mentoring Services Director. She works on marketing, budgeting and ensuring successful coordination of services.
What is a favorite mentoring moment you have heard about?
I recently heard a few stories of mentors reconnecting with former students. They range from a student tracking their mentor down and calling them to chance encounters. Every mentor is surprised at how much the student remembers. This goes to show that long after the relationship is over, students still think about their mentors and appreciate what they did for them.

Lisa Falon Schulz is our main connection to the 73 partner schools and meets and communicates with counselors daily. She also works on mentor retention and training current and new mentors.
What is a favorite mentoring moment you have heard about?
My favorite moments are hearing the stories about students being so excited to see their mentor after a long summer. Kids of all ages anxiously await that moment and many of them practically jump into their mentor’s arms the first time they connect again. The beautiful smiles from both of them light up my days.

Brandi Umberger is the USucceed Coordinator. USucceed is our community/school mentoring program for high school students. There are nearly 100 matches actively meeting in the USucceed program!
What is a favorite mentoring moment you have heard about?
I am fortunate to be able to get to know mentors and students  well, so I have several fond memories but one that stands out  is when USucceed matches toured Augustana. We ate in the dining hall, heard from current students and took a tour. As one of the matches was leaving, I asked what they thought of the event. The student replied that it was awesome and she can’t wait to go to college. No matter where that student goes, the seed was planted through this experience that college is possible for her.

That’s all of us! I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about the Mentoring Services team! If you want to join us in this work by becoming a volunteer, we would love to have you! Click here to apply to volunteer for USucceed or Everyday Heroes (school-based mentoring). Click here to apply to volunteer for Better Together.

Watch for other service areas to highlight staff the rest of this week!

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