NHRI Leaves a Lasting Impact

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Hannah, originally from South Dakota, started out her college career like most college students by starting in one college then finishing in another. But her first exposure with NHRI was on her New Student Enrollment day, when her mother was with a guide who was in NHRI and told her all about it. She did receive a lot of encouragement from people within her circle on campus to officially pursue it (shocker … she did). From there she was with the program for three years, while her studies transitioned to the psychology discipline with minors in education and English. It seems she was primed for a career with NHRI with credentials like that. That experience she had with the program and the impact she saw it could have on students were driving factors for why she wanted to continue with NHRI in a leadership role while also continuing her education to fine-tune the skills she had as an amazing mentor. With her position as the program director, she works hands-on with the mentors to provide training and guidance for how they can be effective mentors to the students they work with.

NHRI, which stands for the Nebraska Human Resources Institute, was first established in 1988 (and became NHRI Leadership Mentoring in 2019). It was predated, though, by the Nebraska Human Resources Research Foundation that was founded by Dr. William Hall and Dr. Donald Clifton. Yes, that Clifton of Clifton Strengths. Pretty cool that a mentorship program has the history of being started by the guy who pioneered psychology within the world of professionalism and business. But what exactly is NHRI and what do they do? NHRI is a leadership development program in which outstanding college leaders are paired with outstanding young leaders in the Lincoln Public Schools system. The objective is to discover individuals with exceptional capacity to positively influence others and develop their leadership capacity through one-to-one investment relationships. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, after talking with the NRHI program director, Hannah Sunderman, and NHRI staff adviser for Lincoln High, Victor Mpore, it was clear that there was something very special happening within this program.

On the other side of the table is Victor Mpore. Victor, who currently is a staff adviser for NHRI at Lincoln High, works directly on the relationships between the mentors and the mentees. Victor, like Hannah, had a path toward being with NHRI postgraduation due to the impact he saw he could have on students’ lives and through gaining multiple leadership positions through his collegiate career with NHRI. And also like Hannah, he found encouragement from people around him and noticed that his personal attributes lined up perfectly with what NHRI looks for in mentors. What he has seen, especially this year due to the pandemic, is the growth that mentees go through when they are faced with difficult situations and conversations that are encompassing the national spotlight and ones that directly affect them on a daily basis, considering how diverse the student population is at Lincoln High. Also, the relationships that he has seen the mentors develop with their mentees during this period of time has been amazing to watch, because it can be hard for the mentees to open up and be vulnerable with people who aren’t within their tight circle. But with some proper coaching from NHRI, the dialog between mentors and mentees has been extremely healthy for coming to common ground on differences of opinion. That is something that can’t be said everywhere else.

What can certainly be discerned from these two perspectives of NHRI is that the organization has a lasting impact on the people who become involved with it, whether that be as a mentee or a mentor. The relationships and the values that are instilled in the participants are something that can’t be taught in a classroom (even though mentors do take classes to prepare them for their interactions with mentees). That is why NHRI came to Nebraska Grow, to set up a crowdfunding campaign that would help support and fund the staff advisers and the yearly stipend they receive through the generous donations from the people that choose to support NHRI.

But what is Nebraska Grow? Well, you’ve more than likely heard of the University of Nebraska Foundation, but you might not have heard of our crowdfunding initiative that is Nebraska Grow. Basically, Nebraska Grow provides opportunities and tools to passionate supporters of the University of Nebraska, whether that be for UNL, UNK, UNO or UNMC. Are you a champion for a new scholarship fund? Are you looking to drum up support for a student group? Then Nebraska Grow and our crowdfunding platform might be a great option for you as it was certainly a great option for NHRI and their goals.

Want to learn more about Nebraska Grow and how you can get your organization involved? Then follow the link here!

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