Landyn Schrader of Neligh had the top bid for a Tom Osborne signed football.
Tom and Nancy Osborne with the TeamMates Board of Directors
TeamMates founders Tom and Nancy Osborne spent time with Neligh-Oakdale and Clearwater-Orchard mentors and mentees on Friday night before speaking with both communities.
The Osbornes met privately with the groups and talked about how the program was first started and has grown to more than 130 schools in the state of Nebraska and beyond.
After each meeting, Osborne spoke to school and community members about the program and how it doesn't stereotype youth. He said some students get straight As while others struggle. Some are from single-parent households, many have both parents at home.
The organization, he said, is about providing youth with another role model.
Osborne told a story of his grandfather, who was mentored by a pastor. Without that relationship shaping his grandfather's life, Osborne said his father would not have gone to college during the depression when many did not. That impacted Osborne's life.
"It's not about mentoring one student," he said. "Mentoring has a ripple effect."
After Osborne spoke in Neligh, Bennie Taylor auctioned off a football. Landyn Schrader won with a $950 bid and was able to have Osborne sign the football and take a photo with him.
Many other items were auctioned off silently, including autographed balls, signed NFL helmet, Husker items and apparel and much more donated by businesses.
Free games and a train ride was provided by members of the Neligh Chamber of Commerce and Neligh-Oakdale Teacher's Association.
In Clearwater, an autographed football and mini helmet were auctioned off with Modern Woodmen of America matching proceeds up to $2,500.