In 1995 the founder and director of Mentoring Tucson’s Kids and One on One Mentoring, Don McNeill, felt strongly led to give his life to helping Tucson’s kids. He began as a coach and teacher, but later realized that more needed to be done to help kids who were struggling in life and needed a fresh and positive adult voice to speak into their lives – mentors. Don has consistently had the vision of matching healthy adults from the community with kids who had only one or maybe even no adult in his or her home.
One on One Partners, now One on One Mentoring, was the name of the organization when it first began. After several years, Don felt that there needed to be an additional ministry for those who desired a program with a faith element. So, in 2006 he began MentorKids U.S.A. which is now Mentoring Tucson’s Kids.
Running on a thin budget, Don has maximized each dollar donated to this outreach to touch as many lives as possible. He has found that a young person could be mentored for about $1500 per year whereas it costs the state of Arizona about $60,000 per year to incarcerate just one young person. The cost of mentoring is far less to society and the impact on the life of the young person is far more positive. The combined programs generally oversee matches of over 60 youth (ages 6-17) and adults. Don is considered by many of those involved in mentoring in the community as the “Dean of Mentoring” in Tucson. A crucial addition to the programs has been his daughter, Marcie Seery, who is the Mentor Coordinator.
In summary, One on One Mentoring is a private, non-profit, community-based organization working to have a positive influence on youth facing tough life challenges through one on one relationships.