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Mentoring Stories

Helping Services for Youth & Families has been providing children, teens, and adults with skills and knowledge to bring about positive change in their own lives and in their communities since 1973. Their youth mentoring program, which serves Allamakee, Howard, Delaware, and Winneshiek counties, is one way they do just that.

Tim Sadler and Kaden is one of the mentor matches this program has brought together. Tim and Kaden have been matched since March of 2019, when Kaden was in 7th Grade. Kaden, like many others, waited  several years before getting matched with a mentor.

But waiting seemed to pay off for Kaden and Tim as they soon realized they were a perfect match. “I remember Kaden put sports, hunting, as his interests, I was like gosh this is kind of like me,” Tim says about their match.

However, their friendship didn’t immediately start on day one, “The very first time, you get a card of what to ask and all these things and Kaden’s mom said he used to have an inhaler and I was so nervous because I know nothing about inhaler’s and we biked up a hill and shot basketballs and was so worried he’d need his inhaler, but he was completely fine.”

Those nerves were quick to subside though, and replaced by a new emotion—thrill. “One of the first times we went to a group event, Kaden held a tarantula.” From there, their adventures continued to grow, “Once we went snow tubing and there was a steep but safe drop off. Kaden’s not scared of anything but I sit back. He went off it a couple of times.”

And the adventures don’t stop there. Tim and Kaden envision a long future together “Kaden is only a sophomore but he is thinking about studying engineering at Iowa State. I’m a big Iowa State fan and I’ll probably still go visit him. We’re going to be friends for a really long time.”

Tim and Kaden have some words of wisdom for other youth and adults who may be considering mentoring but aren’t sure it’s right for them, “It’s like making a new friend,” Kaden says. Tim adds, “It’s a fun, easy friendship that I enjoy just as much as him, maybe more.”

There are 23 youth waiting for a mentor in the Helping Services for Youth and Families program. Colinne McCann, Mentoring Coordinator, says that many of these youth are looking for male mentors, an area that has been especially hard to find volunteers for. Tim and Kaden are a perfect example of the joy—and thrills—a mentorship can bring to someone’s lives.

So, what are you waiting for? Get involved today and find a program near you.