by Danielle Wagner
WATERLOO (KWWL) -- One hour, once a week. That's what it takes to make a difference in the life of a Waterloo student.
As part of the TeamMates Mentoring program, junior Hayley Powers meets with Angela Gingrich at Waterloo West High.
The two were paired because Gingrich works in the healthcare field and Powers thinks she wants to be a nurse.
"She said it will be hard. The math and science classes will be tough. She let me know what it's going to be like and an actual real world perspective and that's what I like," said Hayley Powers.
Gingrich even got Powers a math book to help her with algebra. But it's not all school talk. During this meeting, they're making jewelry for Christmas presents.
"She's become like a friend. I talk to her and tell her what's going on. I text her every once in awhile to let her know what's going on. So it's a good bonding thing. Everyone wants someone to talk to," said Powers.
Powers said since meeting with Gingrich her attendance has improved and she's more motivated to do well in school. It's rewarding for Gingrich, too.
"Just to influence someone in a positive way. I've always enjoyed teaching and guiding with the experiences I've had," said Angela Gingrich.
At Waterloo East High, Allen Lavender meets with senior Patrick Thomas.
Thomas was also at risk for dropping out of school, but now he's excelling.
"My grades have improved, my attitude has improved and my whole look upon this high school has improved," said Thomas.
Now, he's determined to go to college.
"We talk a lot about colleges, college applications and what to expect when you go on and move on to college," said Allen Lavender.
Lavender even gave Thomas a mock job interview. Thomas said these weekly meetings have helped him grow, not only as a student, but also as a person.
"I see all the possibilities I can have now at the high school," said Thomas.
"Actually, I've seen his progress from last year to this year. How he has matured over the last year so I think that's excellent," said Lavender.
The goal is for Thomas and Powers to be successful after high school. Lavender said many students just need a good role model, and this is a great opportunity for community members to step up.
Hayley Powers said it's not just another adult telling you what to do, it's about building a relationship.
Patrick Thomas said his mentor is one fun, cool dude. Quite the compliment from a high school student.
There are currently 100 TeamMates mentors in Waterloo, the goal is to recruit 250. You must be 18 to be a mentor and can work with students in grades three through 12. If you're interested in joining TeamMates, contact Waterloo Community Schools.
Reporter: Danielle Wagner