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From Board Member to Mentor: Don’s Story of Giving Back

Don Lester first became involved with YSS through serving on two boards—the YSS Corporate Board of Directors and the YSS of Boone County Community Advisory Board—for a combined total of 17 years.

Through his volunteerism, Don learned about the quality of services YSS provides and knew he wanted to be even more involved.

“I feel everyone who has the time needs to spend time giving back to the communities they live in,” Don says.

Don applied to become a YSS mentor, and has now volunteered in the program for three years. For over 20 years, YSS Mentoring has created life-changing—and often life-long—relationships. Mentors like Don create stability and consistency for youth and provide a positive role model in their lives.

YSS offers both school-based mentoring (grades K-8) as well as community-based mentoring (ages 6-17). Mentors represent all ages, professions, and backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common—they want to make a difference for kids.

Don first mentored a middle school student for over a year, until the family moved away. He was then matched with another student, whom he has mentored from the time the kid was in middle school to being a freshman in high school.

Over the last three years, Don has thoroughly enjoyed conversations and group events with his mentee, saying that he looks forward to events such as Iowa State women’s basketball games.

“I get as much positive effects as my mentee does, because I know I’m impacting someone else’s life,” Don says. “Little do they realize the positive impact they are having on my life by building that trusting relationship.”

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