TeamMates of the Month: Alek and Ed
A TeamMates lateral pass
Like all TeamMates, Alek and Ed are connected. But it almost didn’t happen. When Alek’s fourth-grade teacher approached him about getting a mentor, he wasn’t sure.
“At first I was kind of skeptical about TeamMates,” Alek said. “My sister was in TeamMates, but sadly enough her TeamMate moved and she didn’t get to say goodbye.”
Alek remembered how his sister had felt. Would it happen to him? He decided to take the chance with a college student named Cody.
“It was definitely awkward at first, me being little, with a college student. Over the first three meetings, he would engage me in conversation. Over time, we grew close and it was fun.”
Their bond flourished for four years. Then, Cody got a trucking job. Alek decided it wasn’t history repeating itself.
“I really changed my thinking. TeamMates can’t control some things. I mean, Cody got a good job. He couldn’t be there if he was on the road all the time.”
Cody definitely took the time to say goodbye to Alek, but he went further. He reached out to his former mentor, Ed, to see if he would consider mentoring Alek in his place.
That’s why Alek calls Ed his “GrandTeamMate.”
It was sort of like a lateral pass in a football game, a way to keep going forward.
“One of the things I learned from Cody about Alek was that he liked to make up games,” Ed said. “So, when we started back in middle school, we were inventing card games! Nobody who walked through the library could make sense of it.”
The mentor-to-mentor transition for Alek was smooth and it meant his mentoring journey wasn’t really interrupted.
“With Ed, since I had a mutual agreement with Cody, it was easier since there were already some common things there.”
Ed, who had mentored Cody for seven years, knew what to do. He just kept showing up.
“You’re not a hero on the first day. You’re not supposed to be. You’re supposed to show up. You’re supposed to care. You’re supposed to listen. It really is a development process and pretty much the longer the better, because you’ve got more shared experience.”
Both of them are looking forward to celebrating Alek’s graduation. In the meantime, Alek, who plays first cello at his high school, has a lot to teach Ed.
“I’m learning a lot about music from Alek. I know very little. He knows a lot. I also get to go to his concerts and that’s pretty darn cool.”
You can learn more about Lincoln TeamMates at https://lincolnteammates.org/.
Published: November 7, 2023, Updated: November 7, 2023