Kinship North is the only formal mentoring program serving the Bemidji, Blackduck and Kelliher area. Since 1997, the program has served youth ages 5 to 15 by connecting them with caring adult mentors who will offer stability, asset building, enrichment, support and friendship.
Most of us can think back to our childhood and remember an adult in our life that had a significant impact on who we are today. Maybe it was a parent, an aunt or uncle or a coach. Not all kids have those options. Without them, they lack the opportunity to establish positive, supportive relationships with adults.
To be a mentor, you must be 18 or older and be willing to go through a criminal background check and reference checks. You must commit to one year of mentoring the same child and have two hours per week to volunteer. A mentor must also have transportation and have concern for the well being of the children in the community. Think you could be a mentor? You can! The staff at Kinship say that mentors are ordinary people, doing ordinary things, with extraordinary results.
There are two types of mentoring. “One-on-One” mentoring is just like it sounds. Kinship North conducts extensive interviews with both potential mentors and the children coming into the program. This allows them to find common interest, making the relationship a good fit for the mentor and the child.
The other type of mentoring is “Family Mentoring”. Mentoring as a family can be a very rewarding experience. A Kinship kid will benefit from having more than one caring adult mentor, plus the added fun of participating in group activities such as picnics, hiking, fishing, playing board games or just sharing a meal as a family.
The benefits of mentoring often go both ways. Adult mentors find the experience improves their lives by learning more about themselves while playing a positive role in a child’s life. Mentors have the satisfaction of knowing they have made a difference in the life of a child who needed them. Think about becoming a mentor. For only two hours a week, you can have a significant impact on a child who needs you the most.
“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove….but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child” – Peggy Anderson
- Currently they are in need of about a dozen male mentors as well as several female mentors for one on one mentoring.
- They encourage and are seeking family mentor units, where who families can invite a child into their lives. They have 14 active mentoring relationships and currently have 17 kids on their waiting list.
- For more information, contact Jenn Anderson, Kinship North Program Coordinator. She can be reached at 751-8223 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you know of more volunteer opportunities in the Bemidji Area? Tell me about it at email@example.com