Bridges Mentoring & the Covid-19 Pandemic

Hello mentors, mentees, parents, donors and community members.

It’s good!  It’s good to see children running through the school doors, with their masks, back packs and water bottles in tow. It’s good to have ability to re-plan and reorganize. It’s especially good to re-examine the how and why of what we are doing here at Bridges Mentoring. It sometimes takes a real effort, but I try to put the worries and negative news in its place and focus on the things I can do.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an incredible impact on humanity as a result of the devastating effects on health and those stemming from social distancing measures.  All in-person mentoring continues to be suspended until further notice. We realize that this is a different and difficult time for everyone. While our mentee’s look forward to spending time with their mentors, as a community we need everyone to do what we can to slow the spread of Covid-19.  Little by little, the state has gone through an influx of safety measures. Thankfully Mitchell County Public Health has been on top of the situation.  For now, we are finding new ways to engage in things that are comforting. While we have grieved the loss of the familiar, I am more appreciative of what we have. There is an excitement that is hard to put a finger onto re-planning familiar things in a new way. Perhaps it adds a sense of adventure that ultimately we really can figure out how to have the connections we need.

What are we doing here at Bridges Mentoring?  In spite of social distancing, mentors are still making contact with their mentees. Just in a new format. Some have been reading together via face-time, sending letters, care packages and much more. Here, we are wrestling with the how-tos. How do we maintain and support mentoring relationships in the midst of social distancing? How do we reach out to establish new mentoring relationships now? What about our activities, our fundraisers, our trainings? There have been a lot of questions and not a lot of solid answers but there have also been a number of fresh, new ideas. Some of our old activities have been put on standby and some new ideas are formulating.

What will the rest of our year look like? We aren’t sure, but we will be here. We are looking forward with a bit of sense of renewal and refreshing from the changes, even though it is hard. We look forward knowing that there is still a great need for mentors in our area. We look forward to serving children and families who may have had very adverse experiences during the lockdown, as well as those who were less affected. We look forward to re-planned events. We look forward with gratefulness in our hearts, knowing that our community recognizes our value. We look forward to sharing our new ideas with you soon. Thank you mentors for all you do!

Reason’s to Mentor

Who has had a lasting impact on your life? Who do you credit with helping you get to where you are today? Maybe it was a teacher, a older sibling, a coach, a neighbor, a grandparent, an extended family member, a pastor, a volunteer.

For one of our mentors it was a random match. Someone he didn’t know. Someone that was well liked in the community and someone who felt like they could make a difference in a child’s life.

Our mentee was leading a lonely life, struggled in school, had few friendships, little support and was struggling with self-esteem. One day his mom signed him up for a mentor and hoped that he would set goals for himself. She stated we will take it one step at a time. One small victory leads to another and so on.

If you ask someone about their success, you’re likely to hear about an influential mentor. Whether it’s professional, personal, spiritual, mentoring is often a catalyst for growth and acknowledgement. Mentors offer steady support, guidance, hope, experiences, and critical encouragement.

Denzel Washington said this ” Show me a successful individual and Ill show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living, if you do it well i’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A Mentor”

“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it of of you”-Bob Proctor

If those aren’t reasons enough to consider mentoring, mentors also benefit from investing in others.
1. Help someone realize their potential-Everyone has unique talents and gifts why not share them?
2. Give back to your community- The most impactful way to improve your community is to spend time investing in it. Mentoring helps invest in the next generation.
3. Learn more about yourself- Relationships are a two way street. Our slogan states mentor one change two lives. Learn your strengths and weaknesses, knowledge, experience, and beliefs by sharing them with someone else.
4. Change someone’s life- You may be the only stable person in that child’s life.
5. Become a better leader- Mentoring gives you the opportunity to learn by doing.

Help us spread awareness about mentoring in our communities. Continue to donate to a worthwhile cause and most importantly continue to invest in the life of a child in our communities. Our children are our future. Help us engage more youth and mentoring volunteers in our communities. We cannot do this alone!

Think back to the first question we asked. Who has helped you to get where you are today? And who can I help do the same? Join the Bridges Mentoring Program today and help a child reach their full potential.

A Plea



Now in existence for over 19 years, the Mitchell County Bridges Mentoring Program strives to continue providing quality mentoring services and offerings to youth in Osage, St. Ansgar and Riceville school districts.  We invite you to experience one or more of the many exciting events we are offering this year and witness firsthand the pride we take in supporting our local youth.


It is our mission to strengthen the self-esteem and social skills of area youth by providing positive mentoring relationships to them at no cost. Your involvement in the program will assist youth and family members in their development of trusting relationships, improvement of personal relationships and increasing their sense of self-worth. As with all quality programing, costs to run the Bridges program have increased over time, while available grant funds have decreased greatly. We have fought through difficult financial times before and through your generous contributions we were able to continue providing much needed opportunities for youth in our area.


I am writing to you with an urgent request for your assistance. In order to fulfill our mission and provide these services in our community, we rely on the generosity of individuals and businesses for support. We ask that you make a commitment to support our annual request by making a monetary donation. Our goal this year is to raise $20,000 to continue to provide the programs we offer.


Please give your most generous contribution of $50, $100, $500, $1,000 or more today to help us continue to provide positive mentoring services to our youth!


Every dollar you donate will assist us in reaching our goal and insure that we are able to make a difference in our community by continuing to match youth with a positive adult role model in Mitchell County. Without the assistance of community-minded individuals just like you, we wouldn’t be able to serve our community each year.


Please feel free to contact me at (641)732-3566 or if you have questions about our appeal or if you are interested in becoming a mentor. You can also find information on the Bridges website at or our Facebook page (Mitchell County Bridges Mentoring Program).


The Bridges Mentoring Program is very grateful for your continued support as there is no possible way this program could continue without contributions like yours.


Please make checks payable to Bridges Mentoring Program at PO Box 131 Osage, IA 50461.


With Warm Regards,



Lacey Waller

Program Coordinator


P.S. Looking for a warm meal on a ‘chili’ day? Join us December 2nd starting at 4:00PM at Osage High School for our Chili Challenge Cook-Off Fundraiser. While there, take in some high school hoops as Osage takes on Garner-Hayfield-Ventura.

Marvelous Mentoring Meal Kick-Off Event

Hello everyone!


Tis the season for this joyous time as we celebrate the upcoming holidays. As most of you know, it is that time of year where we are gathering our Marvelous Mentoring Meal agenda’s. This year we are doing things a bit different. Instead of having people sign up for our MMM at our Chili Challenge fundraiser, we are having a special event solely for the purpose of our MMM’s. How exciting is that?

Check out the flyer below.

Marvelous Mentoring Meal Kick- Off Event




WHAT ARE Marvelous Mentoring Meals?


What are they?  A MMM is an event that you pay to attend.  They are varied in theme and could include cocktail parties, sit-down dinners, casual suppers, dessert buffets, special luncheons, unique meals in fine restaurants or outdoor events.


Who puts them on?  ANYONE!  The hosts and hostesses of these events are very generous, community-minded people who offer their homes, their entertaining skills and other resources to provide these special occasions.  They all recognize the value and impact the Bridges Mentoring Program has on the quality of life in Mitchell County and are amazingly willing to support it in this way.


When do these events occur?  The hosts choose the dates that best fit their schedules.  Events are peppered throughout the year.  Occasionally the hosts must change the original date because of unforeseen conflicts.  Attempts are made to accommodate the schedules of the guests when this happens.  The hosts will send out invitations to those who signed up for that event a few weeks in advance of the event.


Who pays to put on the Magnificent Mentoring Meals?  The hosts are responsible for all expenses necessary to produce the event (tax deductible, of course).


How much does it cost to attend a MMM?  Each is individually priced, depending on how much it might require to produce.  A portion of each ticket price is tax deductible to the purchaser as well (that which is above the fair value received).  You pay for your ticket when you sign up for the event.


What happens to the ticket money?  100% of the price paid to attend an event goes to the Bridges Mentoring Program.


Who can attend?  Absolutely ANYONE!  People can sign up individually or as a group with their friends.  These are open to those who have a strong sense of support for the Bridges Program, to those who are community-minded, or anyone who enjoys a fine meal or a fun event.


A big thank you to Taste and Jessie Goodale as we wouldn’t be able to have this event without you. Your generosity and support for our program is amazing! We thank you so much for all you do for Bridges.





What has Bridges Been Up to Lately

Good morning everyone! It has been quite a while since we last updated everyone on what is happening at Bridges Mentoring. This summer has been extremely busy making new mentor/mentee matches, mentor training, re matches and so much more. We are so pleased with the amount of volunteers we have in our program helping and educating today’s youth. Since the school year has started and things are starting to get even more busy, we are preparing ourselves for this grant writing season. We have a lot of fun things planned in the works for these upcoming grant cycles. Stay tuned for more information regarding our grant awards.

We can’t forget about the Marvelous Mentoring Meals that were offered to people in our community to attend. We had so many great hosts this year. Below are some pictures from our Sip and Paint Parties. If you have never done a sipping and painting party, sign up for one of our’s because they are the best!

Members who attended our Sip and Paint Marvelous Mentoring Meal
Members who attended our Sip and Paint Marvelous Mentoring Meal


Enjoying the event
Enjoying the event


As all of the world knows, this year was the year for the summer Olympic’s that were held in Rio de Janeiro. So why not have a Marvelous Mentoring Meal be held during this fun time? Here in Osage we are so lucky to have a Brazillion Food Truck Guy. He has a special food truck named Garoto’s Samba Rock BBQ. If you haven’t tried his food, you need to, it’s fantastic! Garoto’s and Jeff and Angela Nasstrom as well as Derek and Renae Mauser hosted a evening of Brazillion food and the Olympics as their Marvelous Mentoring Meal. This was such a fun event and we received excellent participation and feedback. We are so lucky to have so many volunteers host such fun events for people in our community to attend. And the best part all of the money from these events are donated right back to Bridges.

Garoto's Food Truck
Garoto’s Food Truck

Garoto's PIc 3


As said above, this summer has been a busy time for making new matches. Here are just a few photo’s of our most recent matches. We are so excited to welcome them into the Bridges family.


These two ladies will make a great team!
These two ladies will make a great team!

These two have been waiting to be matched with the right person and we finally found it.  Denise has raised four daughters and loves everything to do with being outside. B is excited to go fishing and to have someone to spend time with him teaching new things and exploring.
These two have been waiting to be matched with the right person and we finally found it. Denise has raised four daughters and loves everything to do with being outside. B is excited to go fishing and to have someone to spend time with him teaching new things and exploring.


If you are looking for a way to give back to your community, please consider mentoring. Just this month, we’ve received many inquiries from people who were interested in learning more about becoming a mentor. Every match makes a huge difference in encouraging healthy youth development in Mitchell County. We’re happy to meet with anyone who’d like to learn more about mentoring, from families to prospective volunteers. Contact our Program Coordinator Lacey for more information.