YSS Mentoring Program

The YSS Mentoring Program is unique in the communities we serve, with over 20 years of successfully matching youth and mentors, creating life-changing—and often life-long—relationships. The YSS Mentoring Program gives hope and opportunity to youth in the community by providing caring, positive adult role models.

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.

Becoming a Mentor is simple!

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.

+ STEP 1 Submit an application
+ STEP 2 Complete and pass background & reference checks
+ STEP 3 Complete an interview & mentor orientation

Apply Today

Make a donation!


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

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.

Requires your commitment through the end of the school year with meetings for about an hour once a week during the child’s school day (8:30AM-3:30PM), typically over the child’s lunch/recess hour.

Serves K-8th grade students in

Boone County: Boone, Madrid, Ogden
Story County: Ames, Ballard, Collins-Maxwell, Gilbert, Nevada
Hamilton County: Webster City

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
mental health services

Community-Based Mentoring

Community-based mentoring works to engage youth with their community through positive, meaningful one-on-one mentoring relationships. The YSS Community-Based Program strives to increase positive outcomes for youth, increasing resiliency and protective factors. Enhanced services are provided to youth and families through this program, including regular program sponsored activities and resource referrals.

  • Serves youth 6-17 years old in Boone and Story Counties.
  • Requires a 12 month commitment and to connect with the youth for at least 4 hours per month.

Your Life Iowa Logo

Your Life Iowa

YSS Mentoring is collaborating with the Iowa Department of Public Health through the Improving Tomorrow: Prevention Focused Mentoring Grant

In addition to matching youth with a mentor, YSS also works closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to support their goal to prevent the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs as well as prevent problem gambling. Participants in the mentoring program will learn why substance abuse and problem gambling is harmful to their health and the associated risks. As a program, we provide prevention related resources, trainings and activities to all program stakeholders throughout the year.  

Free, Confidential Support 24/7 

YourLifeIowa.org was created to support Iowans. Your Life Iowa offers free, confidential support and resources for substance abuse, gambling, suicide, and mental health. 

CALL: (855) 581-8111  TEXT: (855) 895-8398  VISIT: www.yourlifeiowa.org 

Do you know of a business or community organization that would be interested in a free presentation? Please contact us: hchopskie@yss.org


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.