In August of 1988, the Waterloo Big Brothers Big Sisters agency opened an office in Waverly. They made their first local match in July of 1989.
In 1994, the Waverly Rotary Club launched “Rotarians and Others giving Opportunities To Students” (ROOTS) to address the need for more in-school mentoring. ROOTS matched interested adult volunteers with grade school kids that were identified as students who might benefit from one-on-one contact with an adult. The initial program was focused on the West Cedar and Southeast Elementary Schools to help insure a smooth start-up.
The success of the ROOTS program quickly grew, requiring more dedicated resources to support the growth of in-school mentoring. This led to the ROOTS program to join the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa agency, based out of Waterloo.
By 2019, as many as 75 “Littles” were matched through BBBS with “Bigs” through school-based, community-based, and workplace mentoring.
During the summer of 2020, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa Executive Board announced they would cease operations at the end of August 2020. This decision was primarily based on the loss of key funding sources and fundraising impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to firsthand knowledge of the impact mentoring was having in the Waverly-Shell Rock communities, as well as the tremendous financial support shown by local businesses and community leaders, a small group of “Bigs” from the Waverly Exchange Club set out to re-establish a local mentoring program in September of 2020. After much investigation, interviews with regional and national mentoring programs, and conversations with community members, the group felt the Waverly-Shell Rock communities could support a stand-along mentoring program.
The Waverly Mentoring Steering Committee was formed and held its first meeting on March 2, 2021. Over the next 3 months, the steering committee (comprised of former BBBS employees, former Bigs, school officials, and select community leaders) refined the scope and goals of a local mentoring agency, decided on an agency name, developed its vision and mission statements, created a logo and developed a plan to address funding and operations. While this journey had several twists and turns, the committee formally organized All In Mentoring and elected its first Board of Directors on June 29, 2021, with a goal of making its first match during the 2021–22 school year.