Mentor of the Year 2021

Brother/Sister Mentor of the Year

Maxwell Mayleben

School-Based Mentor of the Year

Tonya Hobbie

Community Mentor Program Partner of the Year

Scott Nelsen & Minnesota State University, Mankato – Student Athlete Advisory Committee

Mentors are important!  They reach out to kids who have plenty of talent and really big dreams, but might not always have someone to guide them.  Mentoring is about building trusting relationships.  It’s about providing a stable, comfortable and secure place where young people can find opportunities to grow.

Thank you to all of the mentors who continue to help those in need of someone to trust and someone to follow.  Our community is grateful for your service.  We honor with special distinction, Maxwell Mayleben, Brother/Sister Mentor of the Year 2021, Tonya Hobbie, School-Based Mentor of the Year 2021 and Scott Nelsen and the Minnesota State University, Mankato Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Community Mentor Program Partner of the Year 2021. Congratulations on your work.

These caring adults have set an example for all of us.  We can all make a difference. It doesn’t have to require a huge commitment; it doesn’t take much at all.  It can be as simple as taking a kid to the zoo, shooting some hoops, going shopping, or just sitting around talking.  There is so much good that can be done.

Brother/Sister Mentor of the Year

Maxwell Mayleben

I am a business management major with minors in entrepreneurship and mass communications, and I will be graduating in 2022. I am currently serving as the Editor in Chief of the MSU Reporter, where I spend a lot of my time reporting on the goings on around MSU and the Mankato area.

I grew up in Farmington, Minnesota, spending all of my free time doing theatre, singing in choir, or going to Denny’s with friends.

I signed up for the mentorship program two years ago, and when I first met my mentee, I knew we would be a good match when he tried to cheat in Uno and demanded we go to Berry Blendz. We have had some of our best times doing “random acts of kindness”, building Legos while watching Marvel movies, and chowing down on pretzels at the mall. I have had so much fun hanging out with my mentee for these past two years, and really look forward to the memories we still get to create.

School-Based Mentor of the Year

Tonya Hobbie

I was sitting in a meeting, when it was announced at my job that the YMCA was looking for School-Based mentors and it did not take me long to realize I wanted to volunteer.  For as long as I can remember there have been mentors in my life.  Either a teacher, another parent, coach, co-worker, etc. I would not be in the job that I am in or have the life I have it was not for those individuals sharing their lives with me and giving me courage and confidence.

Being a mentor is also a way to really shape one’s life.  I get the opportunity to volunteer for the YMCA who makes a difference in our communities and our youth.  That is a privilege and an honor that I do not take lightly.  I am still in awe that from elementary to high school I have had the opportunity to spend time with the same student.  What started as lunches and games grew into conversations and discussing the future.  I am honored and deeply humbled to be given this award.

Community Mentor of the Year

Scott Nelsen & Minnesota State University, Mankato Student Athlete Advisory Committee

As Director of Marketing and Community Engagement, I organize and coordinate events for the Minnesota State’s athletic teams.  In working with the Minnesota State Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), one of our community service projects included a focus on the Mankato Family YMCA School-Based Mentoring Pen Pal Program.

SAAC is made up of student-athletes of all 20 of the Maverick athletic teams with a goal of enhancing the student-athlete experience by promoting opportunities   My decision to help pair our student-athletes as mentors with the YMCA School-Based Pen Pal program is two-fold.  One, the mentoring program at the YMCA is a strong and established program, and with the pandemic, I knew that it would be difficult for the program to find mentors this year.  Secondly, our student-athletes take pride in their community service and giving back to the greater Mankato community – this allows them that opportunity during such a unique year.  This is a partnership that I hope only continues to grow and flourish with the years to come.

Here is what Carah Drees; a sophomore on our women’s basketball team had to say about the pen pal program:  “Being a pen pal mentor for the YMCA has given me the unique, enjoyable opportunity to connect with a student in the Mankato community. Due to the pandemic, students of every age have lost many of the fun, normal activities they look forward to. Gaining a pen pal, sharing experiences, and writing and receiving letters have brightened my year.”

Today, let’s follow the example of all of our mentors.  Won’t you lend your experience, wisdom and hope that gives a young person the strength to reach higher?  You are invited; please consider becoming a mentor today!

School-Based Mentor Application

Brother/Sister Mentor Application

Thank you to all our mentors for making a difference in the life of a child. 

10+ Years of Service

Community Based Mentors

Christine Dewanz Carroll
Derek Liebertz
Harrison Musser
Jim Weart

5+ Years of Service

Community Based Mentors

Sam Brockshus
Kathy Brozik
Mark Graham
Courtney Kranz
Olivia Kranz
Sam Murray
Jeremy Peterson
David Roberts
Mikayla Swanson
Joy Wels
Gwenn Wolters

School Based Mentors

Betty Butler
Marry Groothuis
Tonya Hobbie
Kathy Jorgenson
Tom Koch
Paula Peterson
Laura Stevens

3+ Years of Service

Community Based Mentors

Michael Brenna
Courtney Colton
Marla Feikema
Reagan Fenstermaker
Paula Heyer
Tiara Jellum
Mark McCord
Alexis Osland
Alexis Paladini
Bailee Peterson
Nicole Reiger
Keith Siefkes
Megan Stutsman

School Based Mentors

Dean Bixenman
Angelica Funes
Leroy Vetsch
Lori Vetsch
Gabrielle Wolf

1+ Years of Service

Community Based Mentors

Britta Anderson
Abby Bengtson
Carly Beveridge
Ethan Dado
Andrew Doyle
Roxie Fox
Samantha Giannelli
Maria Graff
Hannah Guyer
Brianna Hall
Jerri Hansen
Cheri Herbst
Brittany Honermann
Lydia Jagodzinski
Jesse Jennings
Kayla Kampsen
Meaghan Keohane
Allison Kloti
Natasha Laskey
Lynn Lease
Tate Marschall
Max Mayleben
Bryce Mergens
Kaelyn Platz
Emely Lopez Ruiz
Drew Theis
Sophie Tonander

School Based Mentors

Vail Belgard
Jade Christiansen
Meridith Grob
Bridget Hoban
Roxanne Johnson
Katelind Keating
Reanna Milbrett
Wyatt Miller
Sheila Rahn
Victoria Schulmeister
Autumn Spyksma
Megan Ulmen
Connor Welle
Emma Woulfe

A special THANK YOU to all of our volunteers who help make the magic happen. We couldn’t do it without YOU!

Advisory Board Members

Bailey Blethen
Molly Fox
Mandy Kennedy
Les Koppendrayer
Jessica McLaughlin
Al Roehm
Scott Schaffer

Community Consultants

Ted Clements
Marlae Cox-Kolek
Kate Cox
Megan Hein
Mandy Kennedy
Jamie Mack
Katie Ryan
Jessy Shouler
Megan Stein

School Based Mentoring Site Coordinators

Jennifer Berg
Molly Fox
Isaac Johnson
Mandy Kennedy
Marcy Koch
Amy Luethmers
Jamie Mack
Annika Olivo
Alissa Ross
Zack Stackurski

Group Mentoring

Abby Bengtson
Carly Czaplewski
Deedra Foley
Tracey Graves