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Youth & Shelter Services, Inc.

GRIP Mentoring

 Great Relationships in Pairs (GRIP) Mentoring Program

At YSS, the Great Relationships in Pairs (GRIP) Mentoring Program has been matching caring adults with children who need extra support since 1999. GRIP is a school-based mentoring program working with kindergarten through 8th grade youth throughout Story and Boone Counties. Students are referred to GRIP by a teacher, counselor, a family member or themselves for a variety of reasons, which may include academic difficulty, social challenges or issues affecting life at home.

Our outcome data shows that, like all children, our mentees benefit significantly from having a fun and special one-to-one relationship with a caring adult. Youth feel their participation in GRIP has made them more polite, honest, and helpful and gives them a better understanding of the rules adults set for them. Teachers rate mentored students as having a more positive attitude and better behavior after being matched with a mentor.  

The mentoring relationship is a mutual commitment to a long-term friendship that develops through weekly 30-60 minute meetings. Sessions take place at the child’s school and might involve eating lunch together, playing board games, working on a craft project, playing outside, or simply chatting. Matches occasionally have the chance to participate in additional learning opportunities outside of school, such as games nights, free tickets to athletic events, and the annual Chilly Chili Challenge fundraiser.

GRIP is certified by the Iowa Mentoring Partnership, which requires programs to follow guidelines of best practices established by MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership.



School districts that partner with the GRIP mentoring program are:

Story County Schools:

  • Ames Community School District

  • Ballard Community School District

  • Gilbert Community School District

  • Nevada Community School District

Boone County Schools:

  • Boone Community School District

  • Ogden Community School District


For more information about the program, click on a menu option to the left or Contact Us.




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