TeamMates Gala Match: Kelly & Ariah

Kelly & Ariah

What does TeamMates mean to you?

TeamMates means being a personal cheerleader, advocate and listener for a young person.” – Kelly

To me, Teammates means a lot more than just meeting with my mentor once a week for lunch or dinner. Teammates gave me so much more than I ever thought it would. When I started the program, I didn’t know what to expect. I was entering my first year of high school so I was already a nervous wreck, and I hadn’t been doing the best in school the couple years prior. The first couple meetings with Kelly, it was mostly just introductions and learning a little bit more about each other. After a couple of months, I really learned that Kelly was someone that I could count on to always be there for me when the going got tough. Throughout the years I have known Kelly, she has become family to me. She was there for me when no one else was. No matter what kind of trouble I got into, no matter how bad my grades were, and no matter my current situation, she always had her “Kelly advice.” Over the years as our mentorship has grown, she has become one of my biggest inspirations and the person I look up to most. She gave me hope for my future, and she made me believe through the years of our mentorship, anything I wanted to do was possible. She pushed me to always be at my best and be the best version of me even when I didn’t believe I could. It gave me a best friend and someone and something to believe in.” – Ariah

What has been your favorite part about being a TeamMates Mentor?

Watching my mentees grow and mature and watching them graduate from high school. I have also had a mentee graduate from college and that was a very proud moment as her mentor.” – Kelly

What has been your favorite part about being a TeamMates Mentee?

There are many things I could say I love about being a teammates mentee; getting out of class early every Friday for lunch with Kelly, the zoo trips, and even the football games, but when I sit down and seriously think about it, my favorite part of being a mentee is the fact that I knew I always had someone I could count on. Although my mom and I had an alright relationship when I started Teammates, her and I’s relationship slowly declined over the 4 years I was in high school. However, whenever things got tricky at home, I knew I always had someone who was there for me through anything. Kelly gave me an outlet when I needed one most.” – Ariah

What is your favorite memory with your Mentee?

Ariah and I have had a lot of good times over the years, but I think my favorite memory with her was attending the TeamMates Scholarship Event with her Memorial Stadium in Lincoln and seeing her recognized on the big screen. Just very proud of her and all the hard work she has done.” – Kelly

What is your favorite memory with your Mentor?

Kelly and I have so many good memories together, but when asked my favorite, one specific day pops into my head. Every year, the Teammates mentees that received a central office scholarship, are given the amazing opportunity to be invited onto the field at a Nebraska Huskers football game. This year, I was incredibly honored to be one of those scholarship recipients. The entire football game was just a blur of excitement and nervousness. Now if anyone knows my mentor, she is the biggest Husker fan around. I’m talking about season tickets every year, going to every Husker game, buying every piece of Husker merchandise in stores, and could pretty much name off all the players off the top of her head. So really, we were in her element. After we were on the field waving at the camera above and hearing our introduction overhead, Kelly took us up to her season seats before the game started. When we were seated, she pulled out her FM headphones to listen to the game being broadcasted while we were watching the game as well. I couldn’t help but giggle at her dedication. When the game started she was hooting and hollering at what seemed to be the top of her lungs at all the calls the refs did and didn’t make. It was funny to see how into the game she was. (And maybe, quite frankly, even a little scary, but we don’t have to tell her I said that part.) Even though she was in one of the places she loves the most, she still made the day about me. She kept asking if I needed anything to drink or if I wanted some popcorn or really bad stadium food. She even told me we could leave the game early if I was too tired because she knew I had worked that morning before the game. When she told me that, I thought she had gone crazy for a minute, but we left early so I could get back home at a decent hour and get up early for work in the morning. Although, we did still listen to the game on the radio on the way home.” – Ariah

What is one wish or hope you have for your Mentee?

My wish for Ariah is for her to complete her college education and find a job doing something that she is passionate about. I also hope that someday Ariah is able to become a TeamMates mentor for a young person and share her life experiences.” – Kelly

What is one wish or hope you have for your future?

One wish I have for the future is to graduate with a degree in human behavior or psychology. I find that career path very interesting, and I have always been interested in learning more about studying people’s minds, thoughts, and brains. However, I don’t see that being achieved without the help of Kelly. She pushes me to go to class and get my work done even when I’m feeling extra lazy and just want to watch TV. She is my number one motivator, and I hope to gain a degree for a career I love, even if she has to keep kicking my behind all the way to the finish line.” – Ariah