Steve Schmitt makes positive impact on the lives of youth - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Steve Schmitt makes positive impact on the lives of youth through mentoring

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Steve Schmitt is well-known in Waterloo for being a business owner and a councilman. In 2001, he started Schmitt Telecom Partners, Inc., and he was first elected to city council in 2008.

But Steve Schmitt has also spent a lot of time positively impacting the lives of youth in Waterloo.

Once a week, Steve Schmitt and Korie Parsons face off in a friendly chess match. The two started meeting through the TeamMates Mentoring Program when Korie was in third grade. He's now a sophomore at Waterloo West High.

"Half school work, half checkers. Now he's doing well in school and we've graduated to chess," said Steve Schmitt.

Besides Korie Parsons, Steve Schmitt also meets once a week with a fourth grader at Lincoln Elementary. Schmitt began mentoring in Waterloo schools 15 years ago.

"What's great about Steve is he's consistent. That's what really makes a difference for young people is consistency. Having someone show up," said Ellen Vanderloo with TeamMates.

In eight years, Steve and Korie have worked on a lot of homework.

"If I don't understand one subject, he'll be there to help me understand it and show me the process to getting better at it," said Korie Parsons.

Parsons said it's nice to have an adult male he can go to for advice.

"I just think having another adult in their life is a good thing," said Steve Schmitt.

Parsons said Schmitt got him thinking about goals and that's one reason he already knows he wants to go to college at UNI. Most students with mentors have more goals and do better in school said Ellen Vanderloo with TeamMates Mentoring Program.

"We actually do collect data and are able to show students that do have a mentors have improved attendance, have improved grades and fewer office referrals," said Vanderloo.

The father of six is extremely busy between family time, running his own business and serving on the Waterloo City Council, but he still finds two hours a week to mentor two students.

"He does it without fanfare, but he's one of our most reliable mentors, and I appreciate it very much," said Ellen Vanderloo.

"He's using his time to help me out, which he doesn't have to do, which is very nice because it shows our community cares," said Korie Parsons.

Ellen Vanderloo and Korie Parsons hope Steve Schmitt's story of mentoring inspires more adults get involved in young people's lives.

For more information on TeamMates, click here.

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