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Athletes. Mentors. Rolemodels.

For over 20 years, the YSS Mentoring program has matched children with positive, caring role models. YSS mentors can be community leaders, young professionals, high school students—and even Division I college athletes.

These six young women—Jocelyn Buss, Paige Hanley, Andie Quirke, Jasmine Weiland, Trinity Sadecky, and Alaina Breitbach—balance their time between mentoring kids at local elementary schools and competing on the Iowa State University Swimming and Diving team.

“I’m creating a safe space for them, but they’re also creating that safe space for me just to hang out and step away from my busy schedule, school, and diving. So, I think that’s really fun to do,” said Buss.

During the academic year, the school-based mentoring program at YSS requires mentors to meet with their mentee at least once a week for an hour. Getting together at lunch or recess breaks, the mentoring pairs bond over games, food, and conversations.

YSS Mentoring has a consistent pipeline of compassionate volunteers from Iowa State. The program includes eight swimming and diving athletes, one gymnast, and one softball player who serve as mentors. In total, 38 Iowa State students participate in the YSS Mentoring program in Ames.

For Quirke, the best part of being a mentor is building a long-lasting, positive relationship.

“You get to know your mentee on a deeper level, and they feel like they can trust you and tell you things in an unbiased space outside of their home,” Quirke explains. “That’s really special.”

Breitbach agrees. “I think it’s just really important to give back to these kids as role models. For them to see a positive, older influence is a good thing for them.”

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