The Lincoln TeamMates ( annual Mentor Recognition, held on February 6, energized and inspired TeamMates mentors and mentees who look forward to this event all year long. Alongside more than 200 attendees at the Lincoln Station, they enjoyed delicious Valentino’s pizza and pasta, cheered on the award winners and heard inspirational speakers.

The uplifting celebration was made possible by the Messineo Family, Co-Owners of Valentino’s, who sponsor the event. Condolences were given to the family as Tony Messineo very recently passed away, making the annual Carmen and Tony Messineo Community Involvement Award all the more meaningful.

This Award, celebrating individuals and organizations who’ve shown long-time support for TeamMates, was presented to Barbara Bartles, local philanthropist, community leader and former President of the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools. In 1991, Bartle worked with Tom and Nancy Osborne to help them launch the TeamMates Mentoring Program, now 33 years old and 191 chapters strong.

Keynote speaker, Tut Kailech energized and inspired the mentees and mentors through story, music and rap.  The 2022 Young Lincoln Leaders Awardee and refugee from Sudan, spoke of mentoring, “We are truly building a village here; If it wasn’t for ‘the village’ I honestly wouldn’t know where I would be right now.”  Kailech admonished, “Be who you needed when you were younger,” then concluded with a self-composed song and rap, encouraging youth to know, “You are beautiful the way you are, perfect with the battle scars!”

For more information about partnering with TeamMates, contact Jim Bennett at (402) 436-1990. Additional information can also be found at