Meal With a Mentor Nurtures Next Generation

by | Jun 2024

Senior woman and her younger colleague using digital tablet


Meal with a Mentor is the Edina Community Foundation’s (ECF) newest program. It connects adults established in their vocations and careers with young people ages 15–20. Community members voiced a desire to give youth guidance with a manageable time commitment. Meal with a Mentor is a single lunch—although mentors and mentees can meet more than once.

Edina Morningside Rotary president Afira Hasan volunteered to launch the program by dedicating a breakfast meeting to the networking event. “Vocation was a foundational part of Morningside Rotary, so it was a natural fit to host a mentorship program,” Hasan says.

Hasan collaborated with Edina Business Club leaders Jack Meagher and Marcos Lenehan-Nissen and Edina High School Career and Tech co-leader Shannon Seaver. They recruited business club and Edina High School students, surveying them about their career interests. Hasan organized Rotary members into groups by profession or areas of experience, assigning teens to tables of adults with matching backgrounds. “We had students interested in marketing, entrepreneurship, engineering, education, law, health care, finance and accounting,” she says. “The students had a good time, and one Rotary member subsequently attended their engineering student’s robotics competition.”

Edina Morningside Rotary plans to repeat the networking event, and ECF is building a database of adults willing to mentor teens. “We strive to create valuable programs that include volunteer opportunities for community members,” says Alison Briggs, ECF’s executive director. “The Meal with a Mentor program is structured to offer volunteers a low-time-commitment opportunity to give back.”

Adults from all backgrounds, education and fields are invited to participate.

Contributed by Tina Bohrer of the Edina Community Foundation. Learn more at


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