TeamMates of the Month: Natalie and Cara


November 2019 marked the end of elementary school for Natalie, but the start of her mentoring relationship with Cara. 

“I remember playing a lot of games,” Natalie said. “Didn’t we play Connect 4 and UNO? We were just getting to know each other.”

“We just talked about this the other day, how we used to play games and we haven’t played games in a long time. We just talk,” Cara answered. 

After a few months, the dynamic of the pair’s relationship shifted. The COVID-19 pandemic reached Lincoln and schools closed. Natalie and Cara got creative to keep their bond going. They were one of more than 500 TeamMates that utilized Zoom mentoring. 

“I feel like trust built for us during the pandemic,” Cara said. “I remember when your cat would jump up on your desk, or we’d take turns talking about things in our home like you would show on your Chromebook, ‘I just moved my room around.’” 

The Zoom meetings allowed the two to connect on a deeper level by showing aspects of their personal lives.  Natalie and Cara have dogs at home, which created several laughs for the pair. 

“Like when her puppy is tired, he comes to her door and cries like a little toddler,” Natalie said, “So she lets the dog in, but then he doesn’t want to go to bed.”

Storytelling is central for them. In fact, Cara included “funny” and “family” on her list of top three ways to describe Natalie who loves to tell stories about members of her large family. Her delivery is what makes Cara laugh.

The pair knows what being a TeamMate means to them– always having someone on their side. 

“If I’m having a bad morning, I have someone to talk to about it and going into the rest of my day…it’s better,” Natalie said. 

“I feel you often remind me that even when things are hard and stressful that things are going to be okay. It’s kind of your approach. I think adults think it is a way to give back, but it’s really a two-way thing,” Cara said. 

Published: January 3, 2023, Updated: January 3, 2023

Natalie and Cara are January's TeamMates of the Month