Elton Edmond of Mentoring Plus was our speaker at Lincoln South Rotary Club on May 19, 2023.
Elton opened his presentation by sharing a photo of various individuals representing mentoring programs in Lincoln. He explained that they all have a place - they are not in competition. They collaborate to ensure the best possible services for our community. There are different segments of society, different ages, different interests, different needs, different areas of Lincoln - all need to be served.
He said that his focus has been on helping youth graduate and get a good job. Many of the youth that he encounters have not been exposed to the possibility of being successful. The programs that Elton's organization offer give these youth a chance to see what is possible.
Their style of mentoring may be different from others because of their focus. The mentee has a responsibility to commit and the mentor needs to find ways to inspire and challenge the student.
They as interesting questions such as "if you could select your graduation song, what would it be". Hearing the answers and then the reasons helps them understand how they can best mentor the student.
One student chose "It's A Lovely Day". She said that she was going to be the first in her family to graduate - father, mother, sisters and brothers - she was the one to make it a Lovely Day.
Another chose "Black Parade". He explained that the song starts out dark - gloomy - but things improve. He believed that this is his life - changing from dark to good when he finally graduates.
Elton shared that he can relate to the kids that come from struggling homes. He grew up in that environment and he believes his success was an accident. He was fortunate to receive a scholarship to play football so decided to go to college.But, that is what he saw - he saw an opportunity to play football. He did not go to college with he idea of graduating and getting a good job, he went in knowing that he would be playing football.
He accidentally realized that he could graduate and also get a good job.
Understanding this reality he knew that he could help kids understand the reality - that they can graduate, that they can further their studies if they want, and they can get a good job.
Their program is designed to show the participants a pathway to success.
Purpose - the student has an opportunity to figure out their strengths and then use them to their advantage
Practice - they practice how to focus on their strengths, how to use them on their resumes, how to select a vocation
Prized - they learn to understand that their strengths are a cherished prize - and how to be proud of them
Plan - they work on a plan to graduate
Mentoring Plus is there to support the students - but they don't do the work for them. They advise on writing resumes, on applying for positions, they introduce them to options, etc. But it is the student who ultimately does the work.
Elton talked about the programs - one focused on Social and Emotional Learning. He stated that depression among high school students is at an all time high. With this program they talk about stress and how one problem can lead to a very large concern. One example is car breaks down - mom can't get the kid to school - kid gets behind - eventually kids is truant - so a goal of Mentoring Plus is to get the kids to school.
A specific program that Elton shared is the "Tassels" program:
- - provides ongoing supports to students coming  from  under-served communities
- - provides a wide array of services designed to enhance the likelihood of the student's high school and collegiate success and graduation
- - include culturally sensitive academic advising, financial literacy training and planning, and program mentoring referrals
- - program sessions are designed to improve the student's attendance, improve Grade Point Averages, and enhance the student's likelihood of graduating
Elton is the Executive Director of Mentoring Plus, a non-profit 501C3 youth organization based out of Lincoln. As Founder and Director,Elton is dedicated to the Mentoring Plus mission of "...Changing lives one good kid at a time..." by helping youth from under-served communities to graduate and get good jobs in the community.
Following 30 plus years of coaching, mentoring, and leading youth through local organizations such as the YMCA, Cub Scouts of America, and Church activities, Elton embarked on his passion of helping youth by starting Mentoring Plus in 2019.
A life-long Nebraskan and 35 year resident of Lincoln, Elton has worked as Quality Improvement Analyst with Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services ensuring quality learning and supportive services are provided to individuals. Elton was a 2018 Excellence in Leadership Award Winner.
Elton has been married to his wife Connie for nearly 35 years. They enjoy traveling together and spending time with their two adult sons,daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. Elton volunteers as Vice-Chair of the Peru State College Foundation, Co-Chair of the Alumni Association, Board member of Cause Collective and a member of the Lincoln Youth Mentoring Coalition and the Health Disparities Coalition.
Earning his Master's Degree in Education, Elton is a graduate of Peru State College where he was an All Conference and All Nebraska College member of the football team.