Youth & Shelter Services, Inc.


Mentoring: changing children's lives for the better

It's proven that all children benefit significantly from having a fun and supportive relationship with a caring adult.

Outcome data from our YSS mentoring program supports this, with youth reporting their participation in the program helped them learn to become more polite, honest, helpful and better understand the rules adults set for them. What's more, teachers rate mentored students as having a more positive attitude and better behavior in the classroom after being matched with a mentor. 


Unmatched experience and expertise

The school-based mentoring program at YSS is unique in the communities we serve, with nearly 20 years of successfully matching children and mentors, creating life-changing, and often life-long, relationships. We are also certified by the Iowa Mentoring Partnership, which requires adherence to guidelines of best practices.* 

Students in grades K-8 are referred to YSS by a teacher, counselor or family member. There are times when a child requests a mentor, themselves. The reasons behind wanting a mentor vary, and may include academic difficulty, social challenges or issues affecting life at home. 


A safe place to learn, make memories  

The mentoring relationship is a mutual commitment to a long-term friendship that develops through weekly meetings of 30-60 minutes. Sessions take place at the child's school and might involve: 

  • Eating lunch together 
  • Playing board games 
  • Working on a craft project 
  • Playing outside 
  • Simply visiting about the child's interests and ideas 

Matches occasionally have the chance to participate in additional learning opportunities outside of school, such as game nights and free tickets to local events. 


Participating school districts  

The YSS mentoring program serves students in grades K-8. 

In Story County

  • Ames Community School District

  • Ballard Community School District

  • Gilbert Community School District

  • Nevada Community School District

In Boone County 

  • Boone Community School District

  • Ogden Community School District


*Guidelines are established by MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership. 


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