YSS Mentoring Program

The YSS Mentoring Program is unique in the communities we serve, with 20 years of successfully matching children and mentors, creating life-changing—and often life-long—relationships.

We hold the distinction of being certified by the Iowa Mentoring Partnership, which requires adherence to strict guidelines and best practices established by MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership.

If you have questions regarding mentoring opportunities in Ames and the surrounding areas, please contact Feleecia Watkins.

Apply to be a Mentor!

While in-person meetings are on hold due to Covid-19, we continue to work towards ensuring mentoring relationships are sustained in ways that are intentional and safe. We have a variety of mentoring options for you to choose from while still impacting youth in our communities. Fill out a mentor application below!

Adult Application to Become a Mentor
High School Student Application to Become a Mentor

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Positively Life-Changing Results

It’s proven that all children benefit significantly from having a fun and supportive relationship with a caring adult. Most youth in the YSS Mentoring Program report that their mentor has helped them become more inclined to be respectful, helpful and understanding of the rules set by adults in their lives. In addition, teachers report that mentees are better students, have more positive attitudes and have improved behavior in the classroom.

Safety First

Ensuring the safety of youth served by YSS programs is our primary focus. To become a mentor, volunteers must first complete an Application. YSS mentoring staff screen each applicant using a thorough background check for reports of child abuse, criminal history or inclusion in the National Sex Offender Registries. Personal references are also checked, and each applicant is required to attend a training session were they learn effective strategies for mentoring, including appropriate and inappropriate conduct and the proper steps to take if an incident occurs.

School-Based Mentoring

The YSS School-Based Mentoring Program gives hope and opportunity to children in the community by providing caring, positive adult role models. Students are referred to YSS by a teacher, school counselor or family member. There are also times when a child requests a mentor on his or her own. The reasons behind wanting a mentor vary, and may include academic difficulty, social challenges or issues affecting life at home.

School-Based Mentoring reaches children in elementary and middle school (grades k-8) in Boone and Story County school districts.

Story County

  • Ames Community School District
  • Ballard Community School District
  • Gilbert Community School District
  • Nevada Community School District
  • Collins-Maxwell Community School District

Boone County

  • Boone Community School District
  • Ogden Community School District
  • Madrid Community School District

Hamilton County

  • Webster City Community School District
mental health services

Community-Based Mentoring

The YSS Community-Based Mentoring Program provides enriching and positive experiences for clients in our various programs. Community-Based Mentoring connects clients in Rosedale Shelter, Youth Recovery Homes and Transitional Living Programs in Ames and Boone counties. We provide hope for youth through meaningful one-on-one interactions.

Possible Activities Can Include
  • Eating lunch together
  • Playing board games
  • Working on a craft project
  • Playing outside
  • Simply visiting about the youth’s interests and ideas

Matched to Make a Difference

From high school* and college students, to business professionals, retirees and more, individuals from all walks of life are welcome to volunteer as a mentor. To ensure the best possible outcome for the children in the program, we require mentors to make a commitment of at least one school year to the child they are matched with. The mentoring relationship is a mutual commitment to a long-term friendship that develops through weekly meetings of 30-60 minutes. Sessions take place at the child’s school.

*High school students interested in becoming a mentor are asked to contact YSS to confirm eligibility requirements in their school district.

child counseling services

Let's Get Started

  • Request and submit an application by contacting the YSS Mentoring staff at 515-233-3141
  • Once all background and reference checks are completed, a mentoring facilitator will contact you to arrange an orientation session.
  • Your mentee will be assigned, and the assigned mentoring facilitator will help you plan and schedule your weekly visits.

Reach out today!

Please feel free to contact us with questions or for more information. If your request is urgent in nature, we request you contact us by phone at 515.233.3141.